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Migration of formaldehyde and melamine monomers from kitchen- and tableware made of melamine plastic

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Migration of one or both formaldehyde and/or melamine monomers was found in seven of ten tested melamine samples bought on the Danish market. The samples were a bowl, a jug, a mug, a ladle, and different cups and plates. No violation of the European Union-specific migration limits for melamine (30mgkg −1 ) and formaldehyde (15mgkg −1 ) was found after three successive exposures to the food stimulant 3% acetic acid after 2h at 70°C. To investigate the effects of long-term use, migration tests were performed with two types of cups from a day nursery. Furthermore, medium-term use was studied by ten successive exposures of a plate to 3% acetic acid for 30min at 95°C. The results indicate that continuous migration of formaldehyde and melamine takes place during the lifetime of these articles. The molar ratio of released formaldehyde to melamine was seen to decrease from 12 to about 5. This indicates that, first, the migration of residual monomers is most important, but in the long-term, breakdown of the polymer dominates. Two CEN methods were used to determine the concentration of monomers: a spectrophotometric method for formaldehyde and a UV-HPLC method for melamine.
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Keywords: Formaldehyde; kitchen utensils; melamine; migration testing; tableware

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Residues, Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, 4 Søndervang, DK-4100 Ringsted, Denmark 2: Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research, 19 Mørkhøj Bygade, DK-2860 Søborg, Denmark

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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