Silicone– a safe alternative to plastic?

February 2, 2014

Silicone Safety
By Jolene Marty
Co-Admin Eco-Friendly baby/family products MADE in the USA

With such limited products that are actually safe for our family, it’s always wonderful to hear about alternatives we can use. I used to think silicone was undoubtedly one of them. Upon researching into silicone a bit further, I was disappointed that there was not more information on the safety of the product. Criteria I was trying to specifically find was how easily, and in what situations, might this substance leach or off-gas. Even though silicone itself is a natural substance, is it something we need to handle with caution in much of the same ways as plastic?

Upon reviewing several articles I unfortunately do not have a clear answer. Here are some things that I did find out about silicone. Also if you do choose that this is something you will use, or continue to use, some safety pointers to help keep your risk, no matter how small, to a minimum:

  • Silicone is from a man made, chemically processed substance made from silicon, oxygen, and often other chemicals
  • Not a lot of studies have been officially done on the safety/long-term effects of Silicone so it is deemed safe by the FDA
  • There are no official reports found of off-gassing or leaching in question
  • Has a high heat resistance
  • Breaks down easily in environment, often recyclable
  • Has thousands of uses including household and industrial

 

If you choose to use Silicone products here are a few safety tips:

  • Do not use in the oven or on high heat surfaces as the studies of off-gassing have not been thoroughly studied
    • Would include to hand wash silicone items as dishwashers can become quite hot
    • Do not use silicone products that contain fillers
      • Take your silicone and if you can, twist it in your hands…if the twist areas are white, it has fillers
      • Do not cut silicone such as in the case of silicone cutting boards/mats. They often contain very tiny pieces of fiberglass

Silicone has been a much better alternative to plastic in our world but, it is still a man-made product that has been altered and chemically processed in a plant to fit a variety of needs. It would be a good choice over plastic for many things however, like plastic it still has the opportunity to off gas when heated.

If you are interested in some articles that were found interesting including one explaining the science of silicone please look below!

http://www.livescience.com/37598-silicon-or-silicone-chips-implants.html

http://www.dowcorning.com/content/discover/facts.aspx?wt.svl=FS_readmore_home_FACT

http://www.symptomfind.com/health/is-baking-with-silicone-safe/

http://green.yourway.net/is-silicone-bakeware-really-safe/

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pauleemccormack
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 00:48:51

    I’ve always wondered the same, there is very little info on it.

    I opted to use it for popsicle molds and as a steamer, the pop molds never concerned me but the steamer being that it gets so hot always did. It also burnt to the pan a little once and the smell wasn’t pleasant I threw out the food just to be safe .

    Do you owner a steamer? I couldnt seem to find a safer one and all the others were stainless steel which I worry about leeching too. Sometimes you can’t win! Lol

    Great post 😀

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