Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

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Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby fox1414 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:39 pm

Thinking about building a custom enclosure for my BTS. I am a little confused on what materials are safe for them. I know a lot of people use melamine or pvc sheets, but I also have read that they emit fumes overtime. I would appreciate any other suggestions on what to build out of, although I’m not keen on using wood. All that matters to me is that it is safe!
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby kayla990 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:33 pm

Good question - can't think of many alternatives to the wood at the moment. It seems like melamine fumes are mainly from exposed edges, so it is possible to seal them to stop the fumes (or air out somewhere first, but doesn't seem 100% effective). There are some videos of people building melamine vivariums, for things like chinese water dragons - as long as edges are fully covered off it seems like it shouldn't be an issue (and you can also seal the whole vivarium in epoxy resin to protect against water seeping in and additional heat protection). If you do choose this material, be very careful when making ventilation holes - as the dust is dangerous to work with.

Also, where possible look up things like bearded dragon DiY builds - they will also have similar high temperature basking lights to Blueys. Maybe this post can give guidance specifically to melamine https://www.beardeddragon.org/forums/vi ... 34&t=92055

Can't comment on PVC, but make sure to check melting points/fumes for this too.
- Hons. Degree Animal Management -4 years volunteer in a Zoo -10 years volunteer in animal shelters -Enclosure enthusiast
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:30 am

melamine is OK if it stays bone dry.... else the particle board base bcomes crumble .

i wouldn't use a PVC tank , heat and PVC = outgassing of toxic fumes and gases .

My tanks are either very large 100 - 150L tubs , or homemade using plywood and Perspex.
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby splashy07 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:33 am

All my cages are from Animal Plastics and are PVC. I'm sure the company would be out of business if they were dangerous.
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby fox1414 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:12 am

splashy07 wrote:All my cages are from Animal Plastics and are PVC. I'm sure the company would be out of business if they were dangerous.

Yeah that’s what I would think too but apparently there is a whole debate about pvc and the long term effect it has which has me confused.
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby fox1414 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:14 am

Thank you everyone for your input. Maybe I will start looking into making one out of wood.
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby Herpin Man » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:08 pm

Most melamines and plywoods will have added formeldehyde. They also deteriorate when exposed to moisture.
Expanded PVC such as Sintra or Komatex makes good caging materials. I believe they are low VOC, but this should be confirmed with the manufacturer.
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby splashy07 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:00 am

There is a multitude of companies manufacturing plastic enclosures made specifically for herps. Again, they wouldn't be around if they were found to be toxic. I would not build one myself, not being sure of store bought materials, but if the cage is specifically designed for reptiles it will be fine. I would not use wood as it is impossible to sanitize and will deteriorate if it gets wet. Skinks pass an awful lot of water, as they drink a lot. Most of this will seep to the bottom and won't even be seen, and after time you will have warping.
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby fox1414 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:54 am

splashy07 wrote:There is a multitude of companies manufacturing plastic enclosures made specifically for herps. Again, they wouldn't be around if they were found to be toxic. I would not build one myself, not being sure of store bought materials, but if the cage is specifically designed for reptiles it will be fine. I would not use wood as it is impossible to sanitize and will deteriorate if it gets wet. Skinks pass an awful lot of water, as they drink a lot. Most of this will seep to the bottom and won't even be seen, and after time you will have warping.

Yeah from what I read it seems that those made out of pvc and melamine have to be sealed in order for them to be safe. I am going to go the wood route though but seal it with animal safe epoxy so the interior will be waterproof.
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby kingofnobbys » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:22 am

Herpin Man wrote:Most melamines and plywoods will have added formeldehyde. They also deteriorate when exposed to moisture.
Expanded PVC such as Sintra or Komatex makes good caging materials. I believe they are low VOC, but this should be confirmed with the manufacturer.


Well.... try getting reliable independent scientific testing results from manufacturers who are mainly small time operating in backyard sheds ….

And if your herp gets sick because of the material used in the viv , try getting a vet to even have that on his radar as a cause or knowing what to look for ….
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby Herpin Man » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:43 am

kingofnobbys wrote:Well.... try getting reliable independent scientific testing results from manufacturers who are mainly small time operating in backyard sheds ….


Komatex and Sintra aren't operating in back yard sheds, they are large corporations.
Although I could not quickly locate the website for Sintra, here is the site for Komatex:
http://www.kommerlingusa.com/komatex/pvc-color.cfml
There is a link to the MSDS on the first page, for anyone who cares to look.
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:15 am

Herpin Man wrote:
kingofnobbys wrote:Well.... try getting reliable independent scientific testing results from manufacturers who are mainly small time operating in backyard sheds ….


Komatex and Sintra aren't operating in back yard sheds, they are large corporations.
Although I could not quickly locate the website for Sintra, here is the site for Komatex:
http://www.kommerlingusa.com/komatex/pvc-color.cfml
There is a link to the MSDS on the first page, for anyone who cares to look.


Well just keep in mind your pet herp will spend maybe 23 hrs per day in a very confined space and fumes and gases given off will accumulate , the herp will have no escape other then when you take it out.

I would not like having to live in confined space lined with these material long term and expect it will have significant detrimental cumulative effects on health and longevity.Think respiratory problems, cancers and effects of toxins.
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby Herpin Man » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:46 am

I think that proper ventilation is important for the skinks well being, no matter how safe the material used.
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Re: Is melamine and PVC safe for enclosure?

Postby vana » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:35 pm

If you are concerned about PVC, showcase cages, proline cages and vision cages are made of polyethlene plastic, which is "food safe." I have no experience with these vendors personally.

http://www.showcasecages.com

https://visionproducts.us

http://www.constrictorsnw.com/prolinecages.html

However, the polyethlene cages would be a better alternative to melamine particle board if you don't want a pvc cage.

I have a pvc cage. I bought it before I read about the controversy about them. It did have a strong odor when I first got it. I doubt anyone really knows whether these cages are unhealthy or not- someone would have do an expriement to really find out. Id like to hear from people who have kept animals in them for a long period of time. My skink has shown no apparent negative reaction- he is active and perky in the cage. It is his fall and winter cage, he spends the warm months outside. HOWEVER, If I had it to do over again, I would defintely get a polyethylene cage just to be on the safe side.

The plastic cage deserving is excellent, and I think that style of cage- if not the PVC possibly- is superior to glass.

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