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Melamine targeted for possible regulation in the EU

by Cheryl Hogue
June 30, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 24


Chemical structure of melamine.

Germany will propose that the European Union consider melamine for strict regulation, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced in late June. Melamine is used to make plastic dinnerware, fertilizers, colorants, flame retardants, and other items. It made headlines in 2007 when it sickened dogs and cats that ate pet food tainted with the chemical. In 2008, the Chinese government discovered that manufacturers were adding the substance to milk powder even though melamine has not been approved for use in foods. Six infants died and hundreds of thousands of babies fell ill after consuming melamine. ECHA indicates that Germany will file a submission in August describing why the EU should classify melamine as a substance of very high concern and containing data to support its claims. According to the agency, Germany intends to argue that the substance can have serious adverse effects on the environment. Compounds classified as being of very high concern are generally added to the list of substances that are candidates for tight regulation under the EU’s law on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).


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