As a mother, one of your biggest jobs is making sure your kids are safe and healthy. Often the best way to do that is not only feed them healthy foods, but to use dishware that won’t leach any harmful chemicals into their food. While you’ve likely heard of BPA, lead, and phthalates, another common chemical used in dishware that you may not be aware of is Melamine. While Melamine is just as dangerous as other chemicals, it is unfortunately much more prevalent in dishware. In this helpful article we’ll discuss why this and how melamine dishware is dangerous for you and your family? That way you can opt for better safer alternatives and keep your family safe.
What is Melamine Dishware?
Melamine is a chemical compound that has a number of industrial uses, including the production of laminates, glues, dinnerware, flame retardants and coatings. Originally created by a German chemist in 1834, Melamine became popular in the 1930s and was first used on Navy ships in World War II. After the war was over, companies began using it to create inexpensive dishware that was both lightweight and durable. This style of dinnerware was used the most during the 1950s and continued to be a household staple well into the 1970s.
Melamine itself is an organic, flame retardant, nitrogen-rich chemical that appears as a white crystalline substance and is formed together with formaldehyde to form a lightweight but sturdy plastic. Dishware commonly made from Melamine includes plates, bowls, cups, saucers, ramekins, and even forks or chopsticks.
Because Melamine dishware is so light and cheap, many restaurants and eateries actually use Melamine dishware is place of glassware to cut costs. Melamine plates can also be decorated to look like fine china, so some businesses will purchase them simply for looks. You’ll also find various households, especially those with little kids, may have several pieces melamine dishware or utensils. Some will be colorfully decorated with cute characters on them.
Problems with Melamine
Why is melamine dangerous? In 2007 and 2008, a manufacturer in China began adding high amounts of melamine (remember its nitrogen-rich nature) in pet food and infant formula to fake a higher protein count in these products. Though it’s troubling enough that they used it as a filler ingredient, what’s worse is that they did it without testing the effects that melamine would have on animals and infants. What resulted was numerous cats, dogs, and infants falling ill or dying from renal failure due to the high concentration of melamine in their body. This eventually led to the largest pet food and formula recall in history.
What does this all mean for melamine dishware? Under normal circumstances, melamine dishware won’t contaminate your food at all. According to the FDA, if you don’t heat your melamine dishes above 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and don’t use them with highly acidic foods, your melamine dishware will remain safe. In contrast, consistently consuming food that’s been heated on a melamine dish could eventually lead to kidney stones and kidney failure, and in the case of small children, sometimes death.
For these reasons, many families feel that any chance of melamine contaminating their food is too much and prefer to err on the side of caution, opting to go 100% melamine-free just to be safe.
Finding the Right Melamine-Free Dishware for Your Family
Now that the dangers of melamine dishware are becoming more widely known in eco-friendly circles, many manufacturers have made great strides to provide dishware that is Melamine free. One of the leading brands spearheading the melamine-free movement is Kangovou. Originally launched in 2012, Kangovou was founded by two moms who were so committed to providing chemical-free products for their own families they created a company to make it happen.
Passionate about creating foodware that was highly safe, durable, and stylish, (as well as reasonably priced) the two moms eventually settled on creating a line of versatile kid’s dishware made of high-quality food grade stainless steel, and 100% free of BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, and melamine.
Fast forward to today, and Kangovou has a variety of products, including their highly popular Bento Lunch Box, Compartment Plates, Cereal Bowls, Sippy cups, Flat Plates, Snack Bowls and more. They also offer a comprehensive Kids Dishware Set, which includes one flat plate, one compartment plate, one cereal bowl, one snack bow, and one sippy cup.
Every one of these products come in fun designs and colors, and in addition to being 100% melamine-free, are completely toxin-free, dishwasher safe, and extremely easy to clean. Take a look at their shop for more information and to take a peek at what could be your new dishware!