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Sometimes cooking can seem like too much work. It might be a slow day, and you want to eat something to fill you up. Microwaving is a great shortcut to heat your foods. But, you find yourself using melamine dinnerware. If you’re wondering if melamine can go in the microwave, we’ve found out!
Melamine is a type of plastic resin. Regarding dinnerware, manufacturers mix melamine with formaldehyde to make a resin that molds into bowls, cups, or plates. In the worst case, melamine inside a microwave has the potential to crack or explode. Additionally, it has the potential to leak some chemicals into your food. All in all, putting melamine in the microwave is not advisable.
Now that you know the potential dangers of using melamine in a microwave, you might be curious to find out more. Why does it have the potential to crack? How hazardous are the chemicals that can leach into your foods? If you’d like to find out more, keep reading ahead.
What Happens if You Put Melamine in the Microwave?
With the ever-increasing variety of dinnerware, it’s crucial to find out what works and doesn’t work in a microwave. Regarding melamine, you might be aware that it has some heat resistance. Does this mean it’s safe to use in the microwave occasionally? No, not really.
Melamine absorbs heat much quicker than other plastics. It also absorbs the radiation present in the microwave. While you might not see the damage right away, melamine begins to decompose rather quickly. Over time, the melamine dinnerware can form bubbles and begin to crack.
From here, it will continuously break down until it starts leaching chemicals into your food. Though, it will be apparent before it gets to that point. Hypothetically, if you willfully ignore the signs of decomposing, you can ingest melamine and cyanuric acid.
If these components enter the bloodstream, you can be at risk of kidney damage and, at worst, kidney failure. It can seem worrying. But, we need to look further to see if it’s a rarity or if it’s a real concern.
When it comes to user experience, the answers may vary. Some claim that they have used melamine dinnerware in the microwave for over ten years without a problem. Another user had the opposite experience. After trying to roast peanuts on a melamine plate, the plate began to show deformities.
As they described, the plate began to puff in certain areas. Additionally, it also started to flake! In the end, the melamine plate had to go. These situations beg the question, is melamine safe to put in the microwave? Would you risk and wait for it to deform in the future?
Is It Safe To Put Melamine in the Microwave?
As we mentioned, it will be woefully apparent once the melamine dinnerware starts to decompose. The potential for chemicals to transfer into your foods is possible under certain conditions.
As the FDA states, melamine does not migrate into most foods. The only recorded instances in leaching chemicals were under exaggerated conditions. They found chemical leaching from tableware to the food when it was held at 160 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours. Additionally, the food that aided in the process were acidic foods.
As they explain, acidity plays a crucial role in transferring melamine into foods. They conclude that it is not safe to heat food or drinks in melamine-based products. Instead, you can opt for ceramic or other materials labeled microwave-safe.
Can You Serve Hot Food on Melamine?
With the information we went over above, we can conclude that melamine is safe for use regarding hot foods. Once again, the risk of serious chemical transfer is only apparent under exaggerated conditions. In this case, hot foods will not stay hot for longer than two hours. Additionally, they will not maintain a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Does that mean there will be zero chemical transfer? No, not really. There will be small amounts deemed safe by the FDA.
Are Melamine Plates Safe To Eat On?
With hot foods and chemical leaching in mind, that brings us to another question. If we remove the heat and acidity, is it safe to eat on melamine plates? In short, yes, it’s generally safe to eat off of melamine plates. Though, if you’re extra health-conscious, it can still be a concern.
Safe Consumption Range
The danger does not lie on heat alone. Acidic foods can also contain higher levels of melamine migration. However, it’s debatable how serious it is. As some suggest, the amount of leaking melamine is found to be 250 times smaller than the level the FDA considers toxic.
In a test where cold orange juice was held in a melamine-based product, they found that the melamine migration would be at ten parts of melamine per billion parts of juice. This range is lower than the amount the FDA deems safe in foods other than infant formula. In short, you would be ingesting tiny amounts that would not be dangerous to you. However, whether you continue using melamine dinnerware is up to you.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Melamine?
So, with the potential dangers out of the way, what are some advantages and disadvantages of melamine dinnerware? They do hold some benefits over other types.
The problem with ceramic dinnerware is how easily it can break. It’s a problem that melamine does not have. Since it is composed of plastic resin, it is almost unbreakable. It’s great if you have children who can be clumsy. Additionally, it is also scratch-resistant!
As mentioned earlier, melamine is heat resistant. Meaning, you won’t burn your hands if you’re serving hot foods on it. On the outer areas, it can remain cool to the touch when you serve hot dishes. Aside from adequate heat resistance, it can also work as an insulator. If you want to keep food chill, you can use a melamine plate to do the job.
Cost-Effective and Looks Like Porcelain and Ceramic
For its cost, melamine dishware offers a lot for a small fee. It’s scratch and heat resistant. So, you can use these at almost any type of event. Melamine dinnerware is also easy to clean and dishwasher safe. Though, if you want to prolong its life, you should opt to hand wash it.
If you don’t want to use standard melamine dinnerware, there’s also a Q Squared variation. In addition to a better look, Q Squared melamine dishware is also BPA-free.
Here, we can do a quick recap of the potential dangers melamine can have on your health. It’s important to keep in mind that you will most likely consume small amounts of melamine. But, in extreme cases of contamination, you can expose yourself to dangerous toxic chemicals.
While you can serve hot foods on melamine dishware, you can’t use it to heat foods. You’re limited in how many instances you can use melamine dinnerware. In this regard, ceramic and porcelain can be the better choice.
For the environmentally conscious, melamine dishes are not eco-friendly. Lots of chemicals are emitted into the atmosphere during the manufacturing process. If bio-degradability is another concern of yours, the Environment and Climate Change Department of Canada reports that melamine degrades slowly or not at all.
Alternatives to Melamine Dinnerware
With all of the information you have read, you might have second thoughts on melamine dinnerware. While it does have its benefits, sometimes it can’t outweigh the negative aspects. So, here is a list of alternatives you can use:
- Stainless steel
Each alternative can have the same benefits as melamine dishware! Some can be just as sturdy, heat resistant, and cost-effective. Though, they don’t drag in the potential dangers of chemical contamination. They are also a better eco-friendly choice!
Melamine dishware might seem like a great choice for your daily needs. But, as we can see, it does have its disadvantages. Regarding microwaves, melamine seems to present worrisome dangers. We hope you found the information above insightful!
Before you go, do you have other microwave concerns? Do you wonder if it’s safe to microwave Ziploc bags? We have the answer! For more information, check out our post here.
Additionally, are you wondering if a microwave-safe bowl can also be oven-safe? To find out more, check out our post here. Until next time!