As a mother of a young child, I am constantly on the prowl for what’s safe and what isn’t. In my house, we avoid partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and microwaving plastic. But until this week, I hadn’t given a thought to the melamine plates that my son eats from. After all, the durable melamine prevents accidental breakage from my helpful boy trying to clear the table.
But after weeks of coverage of the tainted pet food that has killed countless pets from kidney failure, it’s come to light that the chemical pesticide that harmed the animals was melamine – the same chemical that is in the melamine resin that my son’s plates are made of. It’s bad enough that the harmful chemical has made it’s way into our food supply. But why isn’t anyone questioning this material’s other uses?
Melamine is something that has been widely considered safe. But even the FDA admits to be taken by surprise by the harmful effects of melamine additives on animals, according to NPR. Could melamine not be that safe after all? And if so, is the contact risk of using melamine plates an acceptable risk for my child?
So, I’ve done a touch of research. Melamine resin – the stuff plates are made of – is a compound made of the melamine chemical and another chemical, urea. It is more heat-safe than regular plastics, but can melt at high temperatures. And it’s not microwave safe.
So what then? Urea? Potentially harmful chemicals? It’s definitely an eyeopener. And honestly, with the risks of melamine in the food supply coming to light, I can’t help but have concerns that it’s not safe enough to eat off of either. I don’t care that people have been using it since the 60s. It’s just not an acceptable risk for my son.
I think it might be time to look into Corelle.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.