Toxic chemicals in bamboo food and drink containers

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We are sorry to have to share this information. Many people have made the effort to switch to reusable food and drinks containers made of bamboo. This is forwarded from the CHEM Trust:

‘Bamboo cups and tableware might seem like a good alternative to plastic, but a statement from The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) highlights chemical concerns associated with this popular alternative.

To make the bamboo coffee cups and tableware, bamboo fibres are often combined with melamine-formaldehyde resin (MFH). However, BfR warns that when the bamboo products are heated, the melamine and formaldehyde can migrate from the material into food. Formaldehyde is known to be hazardous, and is suspected to cause cancer and to damage DNA, while studies have suggested that melamine could damage the kidneys.

Formaldehyde was released from 366 of the cups and bowls tested, and melamine from 291 products. The levels of formaldehyde released exceeded safe limits for adults by up to 30 times, and by up to 120 times for children. The levels of melamine released did not exceed recommended safe limits for adults but the safe limit was exceeded for infants, who regularly ate hot food off the products. When products were tested multiple times BfR found that increasing levels of melamine were released, suggesting that over time the products can degrade by contact with hot liquids.

The BfR recommends that consumers shouldn’t use these products to eat or drink hot food and beverages.

Further info on the study.
Further info on chemicals in food contact materials.

So what can we do?

  1. Make a complaint to where containers were purchased. Ask for a refund.
  2. Find an alternative food container.
  3. Read about, share and support the work of the CHEM Trust.
  4. For many reasons, we need legislation on hazardous chemicals. Contact your local councillors and MPs asking them to represent our best interests by supporting legislation.
  5. Share this information.