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Is Silicone Safe?

Is Silicone Safe?

Many experts and authorities consider silicone completely safe for food use. For example Health Canada states:  "There are no known health hazards associated with use of silicone cookware. Silicone rubber does not react with food or beverages, or produce any hazardous fumes."


Scientific American reports that in 1979 the US Food and Drug Administration determined silicon dioxidesthe raw material for silicone productswere safe for food-grade applications. However, the first silicone cookware only appeared a decade later (e.g., spatulas) and no follow-up studies were done to assess whether silicone cookware leaches anything potentially harmful.


The fact is, there has not been a lot of research done to date on the health effects of silicone.Nonetheless, our own research and review of peer-reviewed scientific studies that have been done indicates we should begin to be cautious about silicone.


Here are some highlights:

Silicones are not completely inert or chemically unreactive and can release toxic chemicals. They can leach certain synthetic chemicals at low levels, and the leaching is increased with fatty substances, such as oils. Evidence of contamination from silicone was found in wine and edible oil foods. Materials such as aluminium, platinum, magnesium and calcium were found to have leached into food when testing was carried out on silicone bakeware. Fluid silicone studies indicated release of siloxanes, one of which - cylcopentasiloxane - is considered toxic and persistent. This siloxane, also known as D5, is used as a softener in cosmetics, and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may also be carcinogenic. (2005 Report commissioned by the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency: Chemical migration from silicones used in connection with food-contact materials and articles)

Silicone tubing commonly used for medical applications has been shown to leach several chemicals, including dioctyl phthalate (DOP). (2006 Study in International Journal of Pharmaceutics: Extractables/leachables from plastic tubing used in product manufacturing)

Silicone intravenous devices have been shown to leach silicone and cause local inflammation. (1999 Study in Archives of Disease in Childhood:  Plastic migration from implanted central venous access devices)

Silicones likely not completely inert and may cause local inflammation. as suggested in this study on the breakdown of silicone joint implants. (1985 Study in Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology: Silicone-induced foreign body reaction and lymphadenopathy after temporomandibular joint arthroplasty)


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