Melamine is an organic compound that is often combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a synthetic polymer which is fire resistant and heat tolerant. Melamine resin is a very versatile material with a highly stable structure. Uses for melamine include whiteboards, floor tiles, kitchenware, fire retardant fabrics, and commercial filters. Melamine can be easily molded while warm, but will set into a fixed form. This property makes it ideally suited to certain industrial applications.
Melamine resin is manufactured by mixing urea with formaldehyde under heat and pressure. The substances begin to polymerize and are forced into a mold which will create the desired shape. Under pressure, melamine releases water, which could make the plastic unstable if it is not removed. The materials finish polymerizing and create a finished product, melamine resin.
Melamine resin is known as a thermoset plastic, because the plastic is fixed after molding. If exposed to enough heat, melamine will melt. For this reason, melamine dishware should not be exposed to high temperatures like those in the oven and microwave. However, the plastic is able to withstand higher temperatures than other plastics. Because it is a thermoset plastic, melamine resin is difficult to recycle.
Melamine can be made into a foam product. Melamine foam has a distinctive structure composed of stacked bubble shapes, which are extremely hard and therefore can easily clean a wide variety of substances. Melamine foam is marketed under a variety of commercial names including Magic Eraser, a cleaning tool well known for removing scuffs and dirt from a wide range of surfaces.
Melamine resin is used in Formica and similar construction products made from composite materials. Formica is made using melamine resin, which is used to coat the fibers in the upper layer of the construction product. The melamine resin makes the end result heat resistant, so that hot objects can be set on the counter without concern. The surface of the material is designed to be easily wiped and cleaned, creating a long lived household product.
http://www.sptimes.com/2004/07/24/Homes ... lean.shtml
Procter & Gamble first discovered the cleaning aid that became the Magic Eraser a few years ago in Japan. "It was a hidden secret even in Japan," Gilbreath, the brand manager, said. It's a cleaning stick made of melamine foam. Melamine is a resin used in construction and the automotive industry as a sound barrier and flame retardant. It also imparts strength and is used in such products as dinnerware and laminate counter tops.
Melamine Foam is an extremely lightweight, open-cell material which is incredibly resistant to heat. Melamine also has low flame transmission and smoke properties. Melamine Foam doesn't drip in the presence of a flame. It stops burning immediately after removal of external ignition source and fuel. It is recommended for acoustical and thermal insulation. Melamine Foam is available with film facings and adhesive backings. (ASTME84 Class 1A, Nonflammable) NRC 65
Yup, sure sounds like a safe food additive to me!