We have established that rubber silicone has the qualities needed for quality kitchen utensils and bakeware.
However, all of this means nothing if silicone poses a health risk.
This begs the question - is silicone safe or toxic?
Silicone: Safe or Toxic?
Unfortunately, no significant research has been conducted to answer this question.
Nevertheless, there is no clear evidence that rubberized silicone is harmful to health.
This is probably why the FDA has labeled the material GRAS, which stands for "Generally Recognized as Safe".
The FDA inspects silicone products during and even after the manufacturing process to ensure that they are suitable for "production, manufacture, packaging, processing, preparation, handling, packing, transportation and maintenance of food products.
A study focusing on human reactions to medical-grade silicone was also published in 2016.
It found that people tolerate medical-grade silicone very well.
Not only was it found to be highly non-toxic, but it also had no effect on the immune system and did not cause skin irritation.
If you are buying silicone utensils and bakeware, you will want to find a product that is at least food grade.
The higher the quality, the better.
The concern is that there is a large amount of poor quality silicone cookware on the market today.
Food-grade silicone is supposed to be 100% silicone, but some companies add plastic fillers, which can affect the quality of the product.
The chemicals in these plastic fillers can leach into your food and harm you.
Pure silicone is inert and will not leach toxic chemicals when cooked.
Does silicone contain BPA?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is often used in the manufacture of plastic containers and bottles.
It has been found to have harmful effects on the human body because it interferes with our hormones and causes brain and behavioral problems.
It can also cause cancer, heart disease, ADHD, obesity and diabetes.
Fortunately, pure silicone does not contain BPA; however, poor quality silicone bakeware and utensils with fillers may contain BPA.
Is silicone safe to use at high temperatures?
Silicones are non-reactive and are considered safe at temperatures up to 572°F.
Can silicones be recycled?
Although silicones are not biodegradable, there are recycling facilities that can process silicone waste and convert it into new products.
Is silicone better than plastic?
Silicone is more environmentally friendly than plastic.
Plastics are not as durable as silicone and therefore need to be replaced more often, resulting in more waste.
Plastics are also harmful to humans because they contain Bisphenol A, a chemical that mimics our hormones and causes endocrine disruption.
Because plastic manufacturers have faced strong consumer opposition over BPA, many companies now produce BPA-free plastics, replacing the chemical with bisphenol S (BPS).
However, studies have shown that BPS is just as toxic as BPA.
Silicone is a better choice because it is non-toxic and not a hazardous waste.
Silicone utensils and bakeware are safe for cooking and baking, provided you expose them to temperatures not exceeding 572 degrees Fahrenheit.
The key is to purchase FDA-approved food-grade silicone cookware to ensure that it does not leach toxins into your food.