When it comes to cookware, there are a lot of choices on the market. However, silicone has become a popular choice for numerous home cooks due to its many benefits.
Although silicone cookware is a preferred choice for many, some safety concerns were raised over the years by experts.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at those claims and help you navigate the benefits and risks associated with using silicone cookware.
Preview of the article
- Presentation Of The Silicone
- Safety Concerns Over Silicone Cookware
- Is silicone cookware safe? What are the dangers of silicone?
- Peroxide silicone
- Platinum silicone
- Does silicone melt or burn? Is silicone toxic when heated? Or melted?
- Is there regulation regarding silicone cookware? What is food grade silicone?
- Pros of using silicone cookware (FDA approved)
- Cons of using silicone cookware
- Alternatives to silicone cookware
- Baking And Cooking With Silicone
Presentation Of The Silicone
What is silicone?
Contrary to popular belief, silicone is not made up of plastics, but of silicon like glass and ceramics.
Silicon is a natural element. Silicone is synthetic.
Silicon is an element that exists abundantly in nature in the form of sand and rock. Behind oxygen, silicon is the second most abundant chemical element on earth. Little risk of shortage on this side!
What’s the difference between silicone and plastic?
Although silicone looks like plastic in many ways, its chemical composition is different.
Silicone is derived from silicon, which is a natural element.
Plastic is made from crude oil derived from petroleum.
What is silicone found in?
Due to its numerous benefits, silicone is found in many materials we use on a daily basis. It resists high variations of temperatures (-80F to 500F), it’s chemical resistant, water repellent, durable, flexible, and much more.
Silicone is used in construction as sealants, adhesives, lubricants, thermal insulation, and electrical insulation. But it also plays an important role in medical supplies and aerospace materials.
Finally, silicone is widely popular for the manufacturing, packing, packaging, transport or holding of food.
Safety Concerns Over Silicone Cookware
Is silicone cookware safe? What are the dangers of silicone?
Are you wondering if it is safe to bake with silicone? Before answering, let’s get (a little bit) into details. To obtain silicone, it is necessary to mix silicone polymers with two types of catalysts, platinum or peroxide.
It has been proven that silicone mixed with peroxide, often cheaper, allows particles to migrate to food. This 2022 study studied it. This kind of silicone is prohibited in several European countries.
Those silicone molds are cheaper because they skip the “cleaning” step used to eliminate all harmful and volatile substances. These molds do not support more than 200°C in the oven. And generally, they contain bisphenol A. The instability of their material can cause contamination of food.
Tip: To identify them, simply pinch your silicone mold, and a white peroxide mark will appear.
On the other hand, silicone using a platinum catalyst is considered the most stable and recommended by the highest authorities for food safety in the world. Platinum is a rare
material that makes it more expensive. Platinum silicone molds are designed to withstand oven heat up to 260°C without damaging the silicone.
Therefore if you are wondering if it is safe to cook with silicone bakeware, the answer is yes. But you should make sure you purchase the platinum silicone and not the peroxide silicone.
You should also respect the recommended temperatures indicated on the label(do not exceed 260 degrees or 500F).
Does silicone melt or burn? Is silicone toxic when heated? Or melted?
Contrary to plastic, silicone does not easily melt. Some types of silicone can resist temperatures up to 1200 degrees (2192 F).
When silicone burns it turns into ashes.
Over 260 degrees, silicone can become insatiable and release compounds called siloxanes.
It’s unclear if siloxanes indeed are toxic and harmful to human health. According to this 2016 scientific research, siloxanes are “are commonly regarded as non-toxic to humans and the environment, or toxic to a very small extend”. But some experts question this belief. When in doubt, it’s better to avoid heating silicone molds over 260 degrees (500F).
Is there regulation regarding silicone cookware? What is food grade silicone?
In 1979, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that silicone cookware was generally safe to adopt for food use. However, the first silicone mold was only available in stores more than 10 years later.
Since then, the FDA created the FDA food-grade silicone. The FDA food-grade silicone is a type of silicone that meets certain standards set by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
These standards are designed to ensure that food-grade silicone does not contain any harmful chemicals or pose any threat to human health.
FDA food-grade silicone is widely used in cooking and baking, as well as in food storage containers.
FDA-approved food-grade silicone:
- Can withstand temperatures from -80°F(-60degrees) to 500F (260degrees)
- Is non-toxic, this material is petroleum free. It doesn’t contain fillers, BPS, and BPA – which makes it safe for human use.
- Is chemical resistant, to chemicals such as acetic acid, ammonia gas, fish oil, corn oil, tartaric acid, sodium sulfate, and vinegar
- Is water repellant
- Is resistant to environmental elements such as weathering and ozonation, and resistant to aging.
Pros of using silicone cookware (FDA approved)
- Non-sticky, no need to use butter or oil to unmold your cakes
- Easy to clean
- Durable, silicone is a material extremely durable
- Goes in the freezer, oven, the microwave, or the dishwasher
- Does not alter the quality of the food
- Resistant to cold and heat from -80F(-60degrees) to 500F (260degrees)
- BPA and BPS-free, and therefore non-toxic and safe for human use
- Flexible, silicone is known to keep its flexibility through time
Cons of using silicone cookware
- Not recyclable. Although it is harmless to nature, silicone is nonetheless a waste that must be treated appropriately at the end of its life. It is in theory recyclable, especially convertible into silicone oil which is widely used as a lubricant for industrial machines.
- Unfortunately, silicone is currently being recycled in very few places in the world. If you want to dispose of silicone products, the best thing you can do is to drop them off at a dedicated collection point so that they are managed in the best way possible depending on where you live.
- Not biodegradable. A product is biodegradable when it decomposes rapidly under the action of bacteria and other living organisms and disappears into the environment by converting it into simple molecules that plants can use. This is the case for example with a banana peel if you bury it for a few weeks. Silicon is non-toxic and doesn’t leach toxic substances but it will not degrade by itself.
- Low-quality silicone cookware (not FDA approved) can release chemicals.
Alternatives to silicone cookware
While silicon has been a popular choice for cookware in recent years, there are several alternatives that can offer similar benefits. Glass is a non-porous material that is easy to clean and does not retain odors or flavors. It is also heat resistant, making it an excellent choice for cooking. Ceramic cookware is another option that is non-stick and easy to clean. It is also oven-safe, making it ideal for baking and roasting.
- Glass. Tempered glass can safely be used in the oven. It is strong, durable, and can withstand high temperatures. The material is natural, non-toxic, and completely recyclable. Glass can also be reused many times without losing its quality.
- Stainless Steel. This material is also non-toxic as it doesn’t leach chemicals. It’s a perfectly safe option for cookware. It can be recycled infinitely without losing its quality.
- Ceramic cookware contains no chemicals and is also a great alternative to silicone cookware.
If you would like to know more about eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to silicone, check our article.
Baking And Cooking With Silicone
How do you bake with silicone?
Silicone cookware such as molds can go in the oven, gas oven, electric oven, and combined oven. They usually can withstand up to 260degrees or 500F.
Food will usually cook faster in silicone molds than in “metal” one. You should then lower the temperature by 10degrees and add a little bit of extra cooking time.
Do not use a knife or pointy instruments with silicone bakeware.
Can silicone go in the oven?
It’s perfectly safe to put silicone in the oven. In fact, many cookware items, such as baking trays and muffin tins, are made from silicone because of their high heat resistance (up to 260 degrees or 500F).
So if you’re ever wondering whether you can put silicone cookware in the oven, the answer is yes.
Can you put silicone molds directly on the oven rack?
Silicone molds are also designed to be put directly on oven racks. Make sure the temperature doesn’t exceed 260 degrees or 500F.
Can silicone bakeware go in a toaster oven? Electric oven?
Yes, and yes. You can do both. Make sure the temperature doesn’t exceed 260 degrees or 500F.
Can silicon go in the microwave?
It depends on the type of silicone bakeware. Some do, and some don’t. Be sure to check the label and product recommendation before using silicone bakeware in a microwave.
Can silicon go in the dishwasher?
Some people are unsure about whether silicon is safe to put in the dishwasher. While it is true that silicon can withstand high temperatures, it is important to remember that dishwashers use very hot water and strong detergents.
If you want to put your silicone molds in your dishwasher, do not use intensive programs that exceed 260degrees or 500F.
It’s also better not to use abrasive detergent when washing your silicone bakeware in a dishwasher.
Whatever its brand, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions when washing your silicone mold. Dishwasher cleaning is still to be avoided if you want to keep your molds as long as possible.
How to clean silicone?
Silicone molds do not stick. Pour cold water into your silicone cookware before using them and dry them well.
Before unmolding your cake, it’s advised to wait for 10 to 15 minutes.
After every use, clean your silicone mold perfectly. No stain, burn spot, no grease should remain on it.
How to pick non-toxic silicone cookware?
You can always test silicone cookware by folding and pinching the mold. If it keeps its color, it means the silicone is of good quality (platinum quality or FDA-approved).LIEN! But if there is a white spot on the pinched part, it means that it is a low-quality mold and you shouldn’t buy it.
You should also check if the silicone cookware you want to purchase is food-grade approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
3 Brands that sell Food Grade Silicone Cookware
If you’re looking for a versatile, durable, and safe option for your cooking needs, we gathered 3 brands selling food grade silicone cookware.
Made from 100% food grade silicone, these cookwares are BPA free and safe to use even at high temperatures.
Whether you’re baking a cake, roasting a chicken, or simmering a gravy, food grade silicone cookware is an excellent choice that will help you create delicious meals that your family and friends will love.
Features: goes in the oven, microwave and freezer, BPA-free, dishwasher-safe
Shop Round Cake Pan in Silicone
Features: resistant up to 450F and 230 degrees celsius, goes in the oven, microwave and freezer, BPA-free, dishwasher-safe
Shop Silicone Bakeware 18 pieces Set
Features: BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, non-stick and quick-clean mold
Do you want to know more about PVC and if it is toxic? Check our article about it.
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