A chemical that is used to coat some dishware might be leaching into your food and raising your risk for a number of health concerns. According to a small Taiwanese study, melamine could be leaching off your dishes and into your food in amounts that are harmful to both children and adults.
For the study,which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers evaluated 12 healthy men and women after they ate from bowls coated with melamine resin. They found that the participants had higher levels of melamine in their urine for the next 12 hours after eating. The study participants were eating hot noodle soup, which researchers think might have contributed to the leaching effect.
Three weeks later, the same participants ate the same soup but from ceramic bowls instead of melamine. The melamine levels in urine for 12 hours after eating the soup from melamine bowls was more than 8 parts per billion. When the participants ate out of the ceramic bowls, it was 1.3 parts per billion. Still, according to the Food and Drug Administration, 2,500 parts per billion of melamine is the acceptable limit of melamine in food other than infant formula, so it's unclear if this amount of melamine leaching poses a health risk.
Melamine is an industrial compound used in everyday dishware items such as cooking utensils, plates, cups and bowls.
"Melamine tableware may release large amounts of melamine when used to serve high-temperature foods. The amount of melamine released into food and beverages from melamine tableware varies by brand, so the results of this study of one brand may not be generalized to other brands," wrote Chia-Fang Wu of Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan, who led the study.
Previous studies have found that chronic, low-dose exposure to melamine can increase kidney stone risk for both children and adults.