That Hello Kitty bowl may be adorable, but plastic dishware appears to be a very bad idea healthwise.

A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. finds that eating hot food from melamine bowls can expose you to high amounts of melamine, according to Fox News.

Melamine is toxic crap that makes plastics hard. It is also used for the manufacture of laminates, coatings, commercial filters, glues and adhesives. In addition, it is the stuff that the Chinese doctored pet foods with in 2007 to make the food test higher for protein, resulting in organ failure and the deaths of thousands of U.S. pets. When Chinese baby formula manufacturers used it for the same reason in 2008, it was linked to six deaths and 50,000 hospitalizations related to kidney stones and kidney disease.

In the current study, Dr. Chia-Fang Wu of Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan measured melamine levels in urine in a dozen men and women who consumed hot chicken noodle soup.

Half of the participants ate a two-cup serving of hot soup from melamine bowls, and the other half consumed soup from ceramic bowls. Urine samples were collected before the meal and every two hours for 12 hours following the meal.

The results were alarming. The total melamine excretion in urine for 12 hours was 8.35 micrograms per liter after consuming soup from a melamine bowl, compared to only 1.31 micrograms after sipping soup from ceramic bowls.

“Melamine tableware may release large amounts of melamine when used to serve high-temperature foods,” the authors concluded.

Melamine is excreted relatively quickly from the body. But, the authors write, “the consequences of long-term melamine exposure still should be of concern.”

To play it safe, serve hot food, soup and drinks in ceramic or glass dishware. To play it even safer, just toss your plastic dishware.

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