What Is Melamine

  • What is melamine?
  • What is it used for?
  • Is melamine dangerous?

With recent pet food and baby formula scandals in the news, you may be wondering: what is melamine? This synthetic compound has been used in construction materials, fertilizer, and even the creation of bowls and plates.

What Is Melamine And Where Does It Come From?
First synthesized by German scientists in the 1830s, melamine is compound made of carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen. In the 1930s, melamine came into favor as an ingredient used to create a durable plastic. Combining melamine with formaldehyde under high heat results in a plastic that is strong, easily molded and fire resistant.

In the 1950s melamine plastic was used to create a very popular line of dinnerware known as "Melmac". Although melamine plastic dinnerware fell out of fashion in the 1970s, dishes made with melamine plastic are sold as collector's items today.

The material is used to create Formica countertops, dry erase boards and cleaning supplies. Foamed melamine plastic is used to create high volume filters and as a fire retardant construction material in airplanes and buses. A melamine derivative called sulfonated melamine formaldehyde can be added to concrete to improve the strength and life span of the material.

Recent Melamine Food Scandals
Since melamine has a high nitrogen content, it can make foods appear to have a higher protein content in some tests. Dishonest food producers in some countries (particularly China) have used melamine to supplement feedstock, pet food and even baby formula. Scientists have determined that melamine causes kidney stones and renal failure and can be fatal to animals and humans.

Related Life123 Articles

Dreaming of the look of marble countertops? You'll either need to stay out of the kitchen or put in a lot of work to keep them looking new.

Marble produces a beauty that lasts. Think about the ancient Roman statues that still stand today. This durable beauty does need a bit of help though; maintaining marble countertops will help them last a lifetime-or more.

Frequently Asked Questions on Ask.com
More Related Life123 Articles

Granite is a durable stone that was once volcanic lava. Tough and beautiful, granite is a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops. Caring for granite countertops is a simple chore that will keep your investment looking new for years to come.

Cultured marble countertops cost more than laminate, but are about half the cost of solid surface or granite. Cultured marble is an economical replacement for real marble and a great upgrade from laminate countertops.

If you are renovating or have moved into an older house, you may be wondering how to clean old, unfinished marble countertops.

© 2014 Life123, Inc. All rights reserved. An IAC Company