A new study reveals that hot soup served in melamine bowls could cause the release of toxics from chemical used make the plastic containers “unbreakable”.
Researchers from Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan found traces of melamine, which is toxic, in the urine of subjects who ate hot noodle soup out of bowls made with the substance. The same chemical was linked to a rash of infant deaths due to tainted milk formula in China in 2008.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine on Monday, found that the amount of melamine in test subjects’ urine increased dramatically between four to six hours after consuming soup from the bowls. The test involved 16 volunteers whose urine was tested between two to 12 hours after eating the soup in a pilot study in October 2011, followed by another group of 12 who were tested a month later in a more detailed investigation.
“Melamine tableware may release large amounts of melamine when used to serve high-temperature foods,” the researchers determined. However, they noted that the amount released could vary by the brand of tableware.
Melamine is used in bowls, countertops, other dishes and many other plastic items. It is combined with formaldehyde to make Formica. It can crystallize in urine and cause kidney damage and kidney failure. Regular ingestion can lead to reproductive problems, bladder and kidney problems and potentially can cause bladder cancer.
In 2008, six infants died due to melamine toxicity linked to infant formula and another 300,000 fell ill. Its presence in other dairy products caused a number of adults to develop kidney stones.