Look at your kitchen tools and cooking utensils in your kitchen, there are different materials like plastic bowls, wooden spoons, stainless steel pots. And a revolutionary new material that will transform the way you cook and bake in the kitchen. This material is silicone.
With too many negative reports about Teflon and plastic harm to body and nature, customers turn to look for a better replacement that is easy to clean and safe to the body. Silicone utensils and bakeware have been gaining popularity due to their flexibility and non-stick feature. Are silicone kitchen utensils and bakeware safe?
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1. What is silicone?
Silicone also is known as siloxanes is a man-made polymer made up of silicon, oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. Silicone is extracted from Silica, while Silica is the most common component of beach sand, that’s why Wacker and Dow say silicone is made from sand. Know more about SILICONE.
2. Are silicone kitchen utensils and bakeware safe?
But as silicone is a man-made compound, many of us remain sceptical about the safety of silicone, look at questions frequently asked on Google:
Is silicone safe or toxic?
Is silicone harmful to humans?
Are silicone Utensils and bakeware safe?
Is silicone really safe for baking and cooking?
What are the harmful effects of silicon cookware?
Is silicone safe in cookware(kettle, cooking pans, baby bottles..etc)?
Unfortunately, silicone is fairly new in cookware, there was no much research into its safety in food contact. Still, there is no negative report on silicone cookware.
First, let’s see what trouble us most. Opinions on potential dangers of silicone include:
- The potential for leaching at high temperatures
- Fillers used in lower-quality silicone
- Potential odor during high-temperature use
- Color safety
The GSC(Global Silicone Council) has conducted dozens of scientific studies showing that silicone materials are safe for human health. Risk evaluations have been conducted by regulatory agencies such as Health Canada, Australia Departments of Environment and Health, EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safty, all risk assessment concluded that there is no risk to human health from silicone material when used appropriately.
The FDA (U.S.Food & Drug Administration) who is responsible for food-safe label silicone as “Generally recognized as safe“.
We can see silicone in its nature is safe, the main concern lies in the filler added.
- Fillers added in the raw silicone material.
As a man-made polymer, silicone rubbers have exhibited excellent properties, such as thermal conductivity, fire resistance, good chemical stability, flame retardancy, and excellent resistance to heat and cold, etc.
By changing the base polymer, adding reinforcing filler and special additives, parts of properties will be strengthened significantly to meet special application needs. In my other post on Silicone Classifications, you can know more about them.
As for what fillers and how many added, we have no idea about it, the material suppliers won’t tell you too, because it is technical data, it’s their trade secret. We, as silicone products manufacturer, buy raw silicone material from them, will require them to offer FDA or LFGB test reports, to prove their material is food safe. Material suppliers are liable for material safety.
2. Next is our molding production stage, two kinds of fillers we added include: colour pigment and vulcanizer agent.
The cool and bright colours make silicone cookware attractive but also cause concerns. Many customers worry the colour agent may be harmful to our body. We understand their concern, but don’t worry too much about it. Because the portion added is rather small, even negligible, normally 0.1% ~1%. SGS test report on Cd, Pb, Hg is available too.
Another filler is vulcanizer agent, the widely welcomed platinum silicone is one of it. Platinum is one kind of vulcanizing agent we add to silicone material for molding production to convert silicone gel material into solid high elastic silicone rubber.
Compared with normal vulcanizing agent, Platinum agent has no odour, no residue after cure, and it’s faster and safer. The vulcanizer volatilized under high temperature, sometimes a small portion of residue left, that’s why some products have a smell, a post-cure can get rid of them, don’t worry about it.
Although some consumers still wonder if there any dark sides to silicone cookware, it can be 99% sure that silicone is much safer than many toxic plastics, both to human and nature.
3. What makes silicone perfect for kitchen tools and cooking utensils? Advantages of silicone utensils and cookware.
Silicone has many excellent characteristics that make it best replacement for Teflon and plastic and wooden cookware. Benefits of silicone include:
Non-stick. No need to spray, no greasing or oiling of pans required. You can make muffins directly with the bake pans without paper liners, which cause much of recipe stick to the paper. There is barely any sticking which makes it easy to clean. Washing is no more a pain.
- High and low-temperature resistance. Silicone can withstand temperature from -40℃~260℃, it can go directly from freezer to the oven, or from oven to microwave. Silicone is very heat resistant so we can place even the hottest of pans onto silicone trivets or pot mats, they won’t melt or distort over time.
Soft and flexible. Removal from pans is a super easy-a slight twist or gently pulling on the sides and roll out your baking or ice trays.
No Scratches. Spatulas and spoons with soft silicone heads will protect your cookware from any scratches.
Cool and colourful with various shapes, making your cooking time more joyful.
Neutral, low chemical reactivity. It won’t react with food or beverages or produce any hazardous fumes.
Stain and bacteria resistance. Won’t retain odours or colours after use. It does not absorb any of the flavours from the food into the material.
Freezer, refrigerator, microwave and oven safe, dishwasher safe.
Environmental friendly. Save our planet with less plastics.
Durable and foldable, easily stored and space-saving.
4. Disadvantages of silicone utensils and cookware
They are flexible, cause it difficult to move the baking pan, especially when you have liquid or semi-liquid food. Better place silicone bake pans on a metal sheet to take it in and out of the oven.
Sensitive to sharp tools or point objects, so stay your silicone utensils and bakeware away from knife, broken ceramic dishes. Don’t use metal brushes to clean your silicone utensils.
5. Tips for silicone bakeware and utensils
Buy silicone goods that are FDA approved, the material should be 100% food-grade silicone.
Clean- Silicone utensils are dishwasher safe. If you wash by hand, you can soak them in warm soapy water for 15~30 minutes, then clean with a gentle sponge or dishcloth. Don’t scrub them with metal brushes.
Stay your silicone utensils and cookware away from any sharp tools can extend their lifespan.
Though silicone bakeware is non-stick, some oil spray will make it much more easy to release the food.
Place your silicone baking molds on a metal tray or cookie sheet for stability before you put food in.
Dry them completely before storing your silicone utensils.