Melamine is sometimes used as an alternative to polycarbonate in children's crockery. Melamine is a polymer made from formaldehyde (formol). Formaldehyde is classed as a CMR category 2 substance under the EU's CLP Regulation.
The legislation (Directive 2002/72/EC) stipulates that food contact materials must have a specific migration limit (SML) for formaldehyde and hexamethylenetetramine of 15 mg/kg (total migration limit for both substances).
Melamine and polyamide kitchen utensils from China and Hong Kong may contain too high a level of formaldehyde and primary aromatic amines in relation to the limits set in the legislation.
A new regulation adopted in March 2011 and entering into force in July 2011 urged importers to be more vigilant and reminded them of the fact that the SML for formaldehyde and primary aromatic amines is 15 mg/kg.
Other substitutes apart from melamine are available, such as polyethylene, polypropylene and polyethersulfone.