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Silicone bakeware safety is an important issue because silicone is quickly becoming a popular alternative to nonstick metal cookware. Silicone rubber is touted as a stable, inert material made from sand. But - Is silicone bakeware safe?
Specifically – Do chemicals move or migrate from silicone cookware into food? In what amounts do they migrate and are the chemicals that migrate toxic? After thoroughly researching the topic I can answer these questions about silicone bakeware safety.
Silicone is a synthetic polymer with rubber-like characteristics. Another name for silicone polymer is polysiloxane because it’s made up of repeating chains of siloxanes.
Siloxanes are made from silicon (extracted from sand) and oxygen. Siloxanes may be low molecular weight, medium weight or a high molecular weight. They are also identified by structure, either cyclic or linear.
The types of cyclic and linear siloxanes found in silicone cookware are:
The first 3 in this list are cyclic siloxanes and the bottom 3 are linear. And they all have a low molecular weight. The numbers refer to the number of silicon-oxygen bonds that make up the chain.
Although there's not a ton of research on silicone cookware safety, what I did find was worrisome. Because there are two things all the studies I found agreed on –
When used at temperatures above 200° F silicone cookware releases VOCs into your air and siloxanes into your food.
Studies conducted from 2005-2016 found.
Silicone cookware is not safe for many reasons.
So, for now I suggest avoiding silicone for baking and cooking. That includes spatulas and nonstick parchment paper. Nonstick parchment paper is coated with silicone. A 2016 study found it releases siloxanes into baked goods.