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

K.H. Lund, J.H. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


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 (30 mg kg(-1)) and formaldehyde (15 mg kg(-1)) was found after three successive exposures to the food stimulant 3% acetic acid after 2 h at 70 degrees 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 30 min at 95 degrees 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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)948-955
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • kitchen utensils
  • migration testing
  • tableware
  • formaldehyde
  • melamine

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