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Melamine - how safe is it?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'd love to get some info on the safety of melamine vs. plastics. I really want to throw out/give away the Ikea plastic kids stuff that we've had for many years. I'm ready to invest in some sets of melamine (we have some and they do well and are really better sized for my kids), but I don't hear much about it's safety vs. plastic.

Does anyone have info or links on the safety (or hazard) of melamine? Given how much more expensive it is, I hope it's safer!
post #2 of 9
Wow, I am wondering the same thing. My kiddos have gotten some as gifts and I've wondered as well.
post #3 of 9
I have searched and searched and haven't been able to find anything. It's not soft like plastic, which I guess means fewer PVCs, right? We're looking at investing in a bunch of melamine for the summer, because otherwise it's disposable, and we host most of our family gatherings because we have the biggest house/nicest yard/smallest dog So I'm getting as much as I can via Freecycle and buying whatever else I need. I figure it's got to at least be better than regular plastic, you know?
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm guessing it's at least as safe if not safer. Seems to me the things that are cheap to produce are generally the ones where corners are cut and stuff is added that's harmful. Melamine is NOT all that cheap and is definitely "harder" than most plastics. (Though it still shatters on my tile floors!)

I'm also going to hazard to guess that if there's not a TON of research out on it, it's probably not perceived as such a threat by most people. Could be 'cause you don't get teethers and toys and household products made of melamine, other than dishes! But, hey, it's a theory...
post #5 of 9
Well, I know melamine is not microwavable, and can't be used on the stove or oven, so that kind of limits its use in the kitchen. People like the fridge to microwave convenience of regular plastic.

If you want an alternative to disposable plates you can check out this: http://www.joannehudson.com/shop/bro...FRssVAodKDRIWQ
Bamboo plates that biodegrade in 6 months.

I did find that it's been around since the 40's and those were sold as Melmac, and that it's getting highly collectable.

I think it's not used in more stuff because it is so hard and probably more brittle. Who wants kids toys made from a plastic that breaks when you drop it. It's used as part of Formica and other laminates. Also Magic Eraser is melamine in foam form.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've seen the Bambu brand plates before and love the idea! I want the melamine for my kids to replace plastic (yuck), and the melamine really is pretty durable. It's designed to be "shatter proof," but I've had one or two breaks at particular angles on my VERY VERY hard tile floors. Still, other times it's fallen and been fine, so it really has to do with the angle and velocity.

Very interesting that Magic Eraser is made of melamine! I had no idea!

I need to look at the expense of the melamine dishes vs. the bamboo disposables. I see you can get 100 7" plates for $60, but how soon would we go through those? There are definitely some advantages to having non-disposable items, even if the disposable ones are biodegradable.
post #7 of 9
I *think* this was discussed here a long time ago. : I think the consensus is that it's not safe but neither is it unsafe.

Don't use in the microwave or dishwasher. ANd, yes, they do break--I've broken a couple of plates and bowls.
post #8 of 9
I know nothing about the safety of melamine, but want to suggest enameled metal dishes for kids and/or outdoor use. They aren't exactly cheap, either, compared to plastic, but they're durable (the enamel can chip if dropped on a hard surface, but the dish won't break from being dropped) and safe. Not microwavable, but infinitely reusable, lightweight and dishwasher safe.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
AJP, do you have any resources for places to buy the enameled metal dishes? Sounds like a nice option.
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