Is Silicone Safe for Baking?
Is silicone safe? Silicone bakeware has grown in popularity in recent years, as people seek an easy-to-use, nonstick option for cookware. With its rise, so, too, has concern risen over safety. Experts have concluded, however, that food grade silicone is safe for home cooks.
To begin to evaluate the safety of silicone baking products, one must first understand what silicone is. Silicone is a synthetic polymer that combines the natural element of silicon with carbon and/or oxygen. Depending on the product, other bonding materials may be used as well, and the ability of the final product to stand up to various uses depends on the type of silicone manufactured. Food-grade silicone is pure silicone and should contain no fillers.
Silicone products first came on the market in the late 1970s and were approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration in 1979. While science is still evolving in terms of the safety of silicone products, a 2007 study by the Italian consumer magazine Altroconsumo found that high-grade silicone is safe for use with food and for baking. Current silicone cookware products can be used at temperatures up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit (Scientific American, 2010).
At present, both the FDA and Health Canada state that food-grade silicone is safe to use with food and beverages, as it “does not react with food or beverages, or produce any hazardous fumes” (Health Canada, n.d.). Additionally, the Council of Europe’s Public Health Committee issued regulations on the manufacture of food-grade silicone products, requiring that such products “should not transfer their constituents to foodstuffs in quantities which could endanger human health” (COE, 2004, p. 6). A product that states it meets LFGB standards complies with these regulations.
Researchers will, no doubt, continue to study the safety of silicone bakeware. It is important to remember that pure silicone, containing no fillers, is the safest version of silicone bakeware for the general public to use.