Bamboo dishes, for Altroconsumo are not green, nor safe: they could release formaldehyde and melamine

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Carlos Laforet Coll
@carloslaforetcoll

Altroconsumo tested 14 bamboo articles and found that they are plastic products and potentially very dangerous to health

Don't store avocado like this: it's dangerous

Bamboo crockery and plates they are not biodegradable and can even be harmful to health because, in contact with hot food, they can release melamine and formaldehyde. Altroconsumo analyzes 14 bamboo products purchased both in store and online, denouncing that often the information provided is either not sufficient or even misleading and reports the incorrect practices to the Competition and Market Authority.





"They are not green and can be risky for health", explains Altroconsumo because they are neither recyclable nor biodegradable and can become a risk. They are produced with plastic and in contact with hot food release potentially carcinogenic substances, such as formaldehyde and melamine.

The bamboo tableware is light, practical, colorful, ideal for use by children. "Captivating products that are only apparently ecological alternatives to plastic: it is in fact impossible to make plates, cutlery or glasses using only flour or wood fiber but a synthetic resin is always needed to hold together ingredients of this type", writes the association in a note of consumers.

Index

What emerges from the tests?

The products tested are 14 in all. Half is defined as eco-friendly and biodegradable, but this wording according to Altrconsumo cannot correspond to reality since all the products contain melanin-based synthetic resin that is impossible to separate from the bamboo part. This means that in any case the product will end up in landfills or in the incinerator.

"Yet only 3 of the products analyzed indicate the presence of materials other than bamboo on the label while the other products do not present specific information, leaving buyers to believe that they are made entirely of bamboo".

We arrive at the temperature factor: only 6 out of 14 products report indications relating to the temperatures of use of the products with the warning to keep within certain limits. Not all products specify on the label that these dishes must not be used in the microwave: a detail that should not be underestimated since the heat favors the release of harmful substances.

© Altroconsumo Investigations - February 2020


Formaldehyde and melamine

Formaldehyde and melamine - the two potentially carcinogenic substances sought - were found in quantities lower than the legal limits except in the case of the Biubu baby food kit, which released substances in quantities equal to the maximum limits provided for by the European Regulation and for this reason it is located in the last place in the ranking. The maximum score, i.e. 5 stars, was assigned only to two cups (Casa Collection and Heyholi) and a baby food kit (Lesser & Pavey) which proved to be safe, showing no release of formaldehyde and melamine.


The German study and the reports to the European alert system

Parallel to the Altroconsumo investigation, other confirmations on the poor safety of bamboo crockery and plates also comes from a study by the German institute that deals with food safety (BfR), which analyzing the migration data of hundreds of tableware based on melamine resin - with and without bamboo - concluded that they are not suitable for repeated contact with hot substances. The most alarming fact is that even that dishes containing bamboo can release a greater amount of formaldehyde and melamine in hot food than classic dishes made of melamine resin only.

The criticality of these products is also confirmed by the data of the European rapid alert system (Rasff) which in 2019 alone received about 40 reports relating to bamboo products in which a migration of formaldehyde and / or melamine was found that exceeded the limits. provided for by European law (EU Regulation No. 10 of 2011). Recall that formaldehyde is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a 'certain carcinogen' while melamine is present in possible carcinogens.

Given these results, as we said, Altroconsumo reported these practices aimed at improperly influencing consumer purchases to the Competition and Market Authority, asking them to open an investigation and proceed with any sanctions and interventions. But in the meantime the association advises against the use of dishes containing bamboo fibers and more generally all those based on melamine, which are not suitable for repeated contact with hot food; not to use in the microwave and always check the labels.



Sources: Altroconsumo

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