Inter-day and inter-individual variability in urinary concentrations of melamine and cyanuric acid

Environ Int. 2019 Feb:123:375-381. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.12.018. Epub 2018 Dec 17.


Melamine is used extensively in household products, such as furniture, dinnerware, and food utensils. Several studies have shown that melamine adversely affects kidney function. Nevertheless, little is known about urinary melamine concentrations, and its temporal variability. In this study, 213 first-morning-void urine samples were collected from 19 volunteers for over a month to assess longitudinal variability in concentrations of melamine and its three structural analogues, i.e., cyanuric acid, ammeline, and ammelide. Target analytes were found in all urine samples at mean concentrations of 3.3, 16, 0.99, and 0.62 ng/mL, for melamine, cyanuric acid, ammelide, and ammeline, respectively. Cyanuric acid was the major compound found in all urine samples, accounting for 74-80% of the total concentrations, followed by melamine (12-20%), ammelide (4-6%), and ammeline (2-4%). Gender- and age-related differences in melamine concentrations were observed, although no such pattern was found for cyanuric acid. After adjusting for creatinine, melamine and cyanuric acid concentrations were moderately predictable with inter-day intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) in the range of 0.541-0.763. Nevertheless, substantial inter-individual variation in melamine levels existed even after creatinine adjustment, as evidenced by low ICCs (0.008-0.108). Cumulative daily intake of melamine and cyanuric acid was calculated on the basis of urinary concentrations and the mean values were found to be at least 10-fold below the current tolerable daily intake.

Keywords: Cyanuric acid; Exposure assessment; Human urine; Melamine; Variability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Triazines / urine*
  • Young Adult


  • Triazines
  • cyanuric acid
  • ammelide
  • ammeline
  • melamine