Sheets of paper or cardboard, bonded with a resin, produce laminate surfaces, with the specific type created depending on the pressure, heat, resin and paper used. Melamine is one type of laminate product.
Melamine--a synthetic chemical with many uses, including in foam and resin products--becomes melamine laminate when manufacturers use melamine resin to bond paper together, or to bond paper to wood, under low pressure.
Melamine laminate forms a protective and decorative surface on wood products. Antibacterial and resistant to heat, liquid and many chemicals, melamine laminate remains a tough material that's difficult to scratch or cut.
Common household products with melamine laminate surfaces include kitchen counter tops, laminate flooring and whiteboards. Kitchen cabinets and some furniture consist of paper laminated onto particleboard using melamine resin.
Manufacturers of melamine laminate, such as Netherlands-based DSM, tout melamine's safety, pointing out its record of consumer use since the 1950s without adverse affects. According to the Centers for Disease Control, melamine from other products, such as fertilisers or pesticides, can cause harm if used as a food ingredient.