Life

Why You Might Want to Steer Clear of Melamine Dishes

And what outdoor dishes you should get instead for your backyard bbqs, dinner parties, and picnics

Remember those bleak winter days that had you dreaming of summer? Well, no need to dream anymore because it's finally here! Without a cloud in sight, sandals in hand, and perfectly painted toes (check out our article here to learn about which nail polishes are safe to buy!), you're ready for the best summer cookout yet. You remembered the cooler, the fruit salad, and even dad's favorite burger spatula, but melamine, a toxic chemical that disrupts hormone regulation, might be the last thing you'd be expecting to show up at a summer picnic. You might even know what I'm talking about. You know, those brightly patterned, super cute, practically irresistible plates that don't look plastic, but aren't really ceramic either?


What Even Is Melamine?

Melamine is chemical compound originally found to be toxic only in large quantities and in those cases, results in negative effects on kidney function. However, new research is shedding light on just how much damage can be done to the human body from ingesting melamine. Exposure to melamine has negative impacts on brain development and reproductive functions because it changes how hormones work in the body (1).

Where is Melamine Found?

Melamine can be found in pretty much every type of dishware, cups, plates, bowls and utensils as the compound makes these things dishwasher safe, inexpensive to produce, and extremely durable (2). Remember how I mentioned before that these plates don't look like they're plastic? Now would probably be a good time to reiterate the dangers of plastic dishware and talk about how melamine dishware is deceivingly safe. Even though melamine dishware doesn't look plastic, melamine can leach into food after dishes are repeatedly microwaved or used to hold both hot and acidic foods. Don't go putting those hot-of-the-grill burgers onto your new summer plates!

Bottom line: stay away from dishes and containers made of plastic and melamine. As always, we've rounded up several companies that produce melamine and plastic free dishware to make the transition easier.

How Do I Prevent Melamine Ingestion?

Unfortunately, melamine is not a compound that has been phased out of industry use as it possesses many desirable physical properties (3). The good thing though is that you can avoid it. In many cases, dishware will explicitly state that melamine has been added, which makes it easy to avoid. Like we mentioned above, melamine leeches when used to hold hot or acidic foods, so only use dishware that may contain melamine for cold and non-acidic dishes (leave the gazpacho soup for a melamine-free bowl). One great idea is to simply use the metal pots and pans that you cook (as long as they aren't non-stick) with indoors for cookouts outdoors, as those are both heat and acid resistant and 100% melamine-free (an added bonus: less dishes to wash!). When it comes to reheating food, make sure to microwave foods in melamine-free dishware. Glass storage containers or ceramic dishware are a good alternative for both reheating and serving food in.

If you're looking to switch things up entirely, purchasing a new set of melamine-free dishware will be your safest bet. Here are our general recommendations!

  • Molded bamboo dishware. Unfortunately bamboo dishware is not microwave safe because of fragility of fibers, but is acid safe, so serve caprese salad to your heart's content in these dishes (4)!
  • Glass or ceramic dishware
  • Steel bowls. These can't be microwaved, but are great for serving food in after items have been reheated.

With some savvy shopping skills, you can make sure that your summer picnics all all fun and games. What are you waiting for?

Let's start by acknowledging that take out is a wonderful invention. It's super convenient, delicious, and means no clean up - what more could you ask for? While we praise take out as much as the next person, we have a few suggestions for ways to make your next lunch on the go or Chinese and a movie night a little healthier, without saying you have to order the steamed veggies and white rice.

Keep Reading Show Less
Want more news like this?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update!
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.
/ SOCIAL
Food

Stop Eating Lunch at Your Desk

Seriously, here are 5 reasons why

Work can be crazy, and working through lunch almost feels expected at many offices. But, if you can actually take a break, even just a few times a week, it can make a big difference for your physical, mental, and social well-being. Here are some of the top benefits of not eating at your desk.

Keep Reading Show Less
Roundups

12 Essentials for Packing a Plastic Free Lunch

our favorite reusable items for packing lunch for the kids (and yourself!)

As all the kids are going back to school, it's time to get ready to start getting creative when it comes to packing lunches. While plastic sandwich bags may be convenient, they aren't the healthiest and are only adding to the plastic problem in our oceans. Instead, stock up on some of these lunchbox essentials. They are reusable, washable, and healthier than a bag full of plastic containers. We also have a roundup of general food storage containers you might want to check out.

Keep Reading Show Less

Everyone has their favorite water bottle - a Camelbak with the chewy straw, or a new shiny S'well bottle, or the Hydroflask that keeps your drink icy for days. And, we know that reusable plastic water bottles have some perks- lightweight, see through, indestructible- but they also have one big drawback, the plastic. Plastics, even ones that are BPA free, are often made of chemicals that can seep into water and affect your health. So, that's where this big question comes into play. Do I have to (or should I) ditch my beloved Nalgene with all my stickers from travels throughout the years?

Our answer is - you don't have to pitch it, but it probably shouldn't be your primary bottle either. You can stop reading here and check our our roundup of a dozen glass and stainless steel reusable water bottles if that's enough info for you, or you can keep reading and well give you some tips and nuggets of info on why those tips will make a difference.

Keep Reading Show Less
Roundups

A Dozen Reusable Water Bottles

Our top picks for glass and stainless steel water bottles

If you've made it here, you probably already know that bottled water isn't great. Plastic in general can also be tough because of the ever popular BPA and it's sister chemicals. So, we collected 12 of our favorite plastic-free, reusable water bottles so you don't have to go hunting. Many of these brands make many types of bottle and cups. Feel free to poke around to find a size or shape that might work better for you, but keep in mind always go for glass or stainless steel. That assures that even if the plastic bottles are BPA free, you won't have to worry about BPA replacements. It's often tough to find bottles without plastic lids, but if the water isn't constantly touching the lid, a plastic lid usually isn't something to get too worried about.

If you have some old plastic reusable water bottles kicking around (who doesn't!) then check out our advice about how to use them safely.

Keep Reading Show Less
Science

Having Trouble Keeping a Healthy Weight?

Here's why chemicals might be keeping you from shedding those last few pounds

If you're eating healthy, getting lots of sleep, but just can't seem to hit a healthy weight, it might be something you've never thought about. Obesogens, a term coined in 2006 to refer to chemicals that cause us to gain and hold on to weight, and can influence weight loss. Now, we know that maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle is influenced by what seems like a bajillion factors, and is a complicated issue with no easy solution. But, it looks like obesogens are a piece of the puzzle and definitely something you want to be aware about. Data shows that obesity is an increasing problem. Over one-third of both adults and children in the U.S. are obese or overweight (1, 5). Even for people who regularly work out or have superhuman strength to say no to desserts, obesogens are having an impact. Unfortunately, as obesogen research is in its early stages, we still don't know everything about these chemicals and how they affect weight gain, but as of now, here's what we do know.

Keep Reading Show Less

5 Ways Zero Waste is Also Good For Your Health

Good for the planet and good for you

So, maybe you've heard of the zero waste movement that's been gaining traction. Or, maybe you've seen the Instagrammers showing that they have only made a small jar of trash in the last four years (props to you Laura Singer!). Whether you've heard of this or not, it seems like most people can agree that trying to create less trash (and support a circular economy, which is typically the motivation for those going zero waste) is good for the planet. It's a mind frame shift that helps everyone think about durability, what products we actually need, and how we can treat the items we do have better, which often times translates into decisions that are better for our health as well. While going completely trash free might not be right for you today, it doesn't mean we all can't try to follow some of the easier changes the lifestyle promotes. Making less trash is typically seen as a way to protect the future of our planet, but a lot of these little habit changes are also great for your personal health. So, what are some ways that zero waste is also good for your health?

Keep Reading Show Less
Want more news like this?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update!
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.
/ SOCIAL