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Used melamine dishware in microwave and inhaled fumes of burned plastic. Concerned for health issue

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Oncologist, Radiation
Practicing since : 2007
Answered : 526 Questions
Ate dinner at a friends house and after notice while cleaning I notice she used a melamine dishware in microwave. My young child ate a few forkfuls from this. Also the kitchen smelled of burned plastic. The bowl looked fine but I concerned with my child eating from this and also inhaling the fumes from the microwaved plastic. Is this one time ok or should I be extremely concerned?
Posted Mon, 25 Feb 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Dipanjan Majumder 49 minutes later
Thank you for your post at XXXXXXX forum.
I want to mention a few information regarding melamine dishware.
-Melamine resin is a versatile material with a highly stable structure that can be molded into floor tiles, dry-erase whiteboard, fire-retardant fabrics and dishware.

-Several toxic chemicals are used in the production of melamine resin like formaldehyde and urea. Under the pressure used to create the resin, melamine releases water, which must be completely removed. If it is not, it makes the plastic unstable. This instability can cause the melamine resin to decompose back into its original elements, some of which are toxic.

-Research conducted at the National University of Singapore suggests that, when used continuously over many years, melamine can cause problems of the urinary tract. It can also cause gallbladder stones. The typical symptoms of this condition include pain in the stomach and difficulty urinating.

- The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), a document that is mandated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for every consumable product for safety, states that melamine is
"Harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin XXXXXXX

It goes on to say that "chronic exposure may cause cancer or reproductive damage XXXXXXX

It labels melamine as an "eye, skin and respiratory irritant XXXXXXX

Now from medical point of view I can assure you single exposure cannot be a major issue. It will certainly not cause any sort of problem. Human data on long-term exposure are lacking also. Nothing to be worried now.

Keep me posted. I will be available to answer your queries.

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