Effects of microwave heating on the migration of substances from melamine formaldehyde tableware.
Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2014 ;31(9):1616-24. Epub 2014 Aug 18. PMID: 25068920
Melamine formaldehyde (MF) tableware, after undergoing repeated heating in a microwave oven for 1, 2, 3 or 5 min, was tested for migration into 3% (w/v) acetic acid, a food simulant. Overall migration (OM) consistently increased with an increasing number of heating/washing cycles, while formaldehyde was found at low concentrations or was not detectable. Unexpectedly, the 1-min series caused the most rapid increase in OM; the European Union regulatory limit of 10 mg dm(-2) was exceeded after 25 cycles. The number of cycles required to reach the OM limit rose to 29 and 67 for the 2- and 3-min series, respectively. Only 37 cycles were needed in the case of the 5-min series; however, the cumulative exposure time to microwave irradiation was relatively close to that of the 3-min series. These findings indicate that microwave heating affects the migration of MF in a significantly different manner as compared with conventional heating reported in previous studies. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) spectra of MF after completing the microwave heating series show that the plastic was not fully cured, as evidenced by the absence of methylene linkages. The majority of migrants obtained from OM tests consisted of low molecular weight methylol melamine derivatives. The results indicate that microwave heating allowed demethylolation, addition and condensation reactions to occur, which was not the case when using conventional heating. This study demonstrates that microwave heating for 1-2 min in a repeated manner is of high concern in terms of consumer health. It was found that the service terms of melamine ware under microwave heating were drastically reduced, by more than 10-fold, as compared with the service terms under conventional heating. Hence, it is strongly recommended that manufacturers of MF articles provide instructions for use, e.g."Do not use in microwave", which should be clearly visible to consumers and not easily detachable.