Most moms have a stash of plates and cups that their children use to eat outside during the summer or for easy clean-up over the holidays. These dishes are often made of melamine, which is used in children's tableware because it's lightweight, inexpensive and unbreakable. It's this last quality that you should be concerned about: The dishes are shatter-resistant because of two chemicals that are combined in extreme heat during the manufacturing process. A byproduct of this process is "extra" melamine particles. When heat is applied to melamine, either from hot food or microwaving, or you pour an acidic liquid like orange juice into a melamine cup, those extra particles may react and seep into your food. A new study confirmed eating hot food out of melamine bowls causes potentially harmful particles to infiltrate your system. More research is needed to determine the health effects of low doses of melamine, but high levels can cause kidney issues and other serious health problems. Dr. Oz recommends limiting your exposure.
Follow these guidelines when dealing with melamine:
- Never microwave melamine.
- Don't use melamine plates or cups for hot or acidic foods and drinks.
- Throw out melamine products for young children, who are more susceptible to health risks.
Replace melamine dishes with plastic plates and bowls. You can easily find products that are BPA-free, light weight, and great for outdoors. For kids, try a line of silicone products, which are safe, heat resistant, easy to clean and dishwasher safe. You can also find dishes for babies in stainless steel, which is microwave and dishwasher safe and feature convenient silicone straws and handles.
Next: The potential danger of takeout containers