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Is silicone cookware safe?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Many people wonder if using rubbery silicone cookware products are safe. Food expert Debra Lynn Dadd discusses the safety issues with Silicone cookware.


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post #2 of 9
Thanks for this info. I had been wondering about it for awhile now. I enjoy my silicone scrapers a/k/a spatulas but was leary of trying the bakeware.

The bakeware seems like it would be a solution to everyone's storage issues. I'll have to give it a try.
post #3 of 9
??!!

Teflon is dangerous? AFAIK, the most danger I've ever been in from Teflon is getting smacked with a skillet. What is this person talking about?
post #4 of 9
The reports about teflon are questionable, but it is worth learning more about.

Teflon is poly-tetra-flouro-ethelyne. The main concern revolves around the PTFE ending up in your food.

It comes off the pan more easily as temperatures rise, even outgassing some chemicals once it reaches temps somewhere above 500 degrees. Once your pan hits 700 degrees, the teflon can come off freely. Of course all through that temp range, you're more able to scratch the pan leading to more risk of the teflon ending up in your food. The risk of teflon in the food is also questionable. But I don't want it there even if "safe".

Those are extreme temps that pans generally don't reach. But a pan left on a burner while you attend to some minor emergency cut, spill or whatever can hit those temps pretty easily.

Plus there is concern about trace fumes from the pan during normal cooking, reactions with oil in fry/deepfry techniques and so on.

I don't consider the general alarmism worthy of all the claims made. But there are some truths in there too that merit watching as the research develops.

Phil
post #5 of 9
Putting aside the question of Teflon safety (although, personally, I won't cook with the stuff precisely because there is a question), I recently conducted a straw poll on several cookery sites re: the effectiveness of silicone bakeware.

The consensus is that the trade-off just isn't worth the trouble. Everyone loves the weight and storage advantages, sure. But significant problems with silicone range from it being too flexible, to the fact things don't brown normally in it, to the market being saturated with cheaply made silicone that just doesn't do the job.

Basically, spatulas, bakemats, and similar items were lauded. But actual bakeware was cussed roundly.

BTW, to check quality, bend the sidewall of the item sharply. If white shows, or any lessoning of color intensity, a lot of filler has been used. On quality silicone the color remains unchanged all the way through.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #6 of 9
I've got two 9" round silicone pans and two muffin "tins" that I like a lot as well as two silpats and two generic silicone liners. I've had no trouble browning.

Because of the good release I've even cooked some savory cheesecakes in the round pans before for a party as I'd already used up the springform pans I have. It was a bit tricky to get them out intact but I'd do it again in a similar situation.
post #7 of 9
Something I've been dreaming about would be a set of silicone bakeware that would have some sort of flexible metal weave/mesh in it. Sort of like the old Gumby toys. You could bend the thing into whatever shape you wanted creating freeform baking molds. I'm not sure what the logistics would be (I'm a cook, not an engineer!) but I would eat that sort of thing up.
post #8 of 9
The major concern isn't just the Teflon IN your pan, it's the chemicals that have shown up in the atmosphere as a result of Teflon manufacture. I don't own any Teflon cooking equipment (I mainly use cast iron), but I won't refuse to eat food cooked in a Teflon skillet either. The way I see it is that it hasn't killed me yet, so I'm not going to worry too much about it; there are other aspects of Teflon that I don't like personally.

Here are some "tin foil hat" style talks about Teflon; there's a lot of truth behind them, but sometimes it's tough to see for all the anti-modernity hysterics.
The Silent Killer, by Joanie Doss
Teflon linked to birth defects and illness; but is it safe to use in cooking?


Don't know about the silicone, though... I use the high temperature-rated ones for high temperature stuff, and I use the white, non-high-temperature rated ones for everything else. The older style, semi-flexible non-temperature-rated ones are nicer, but I'm not sure if they're in danger of breaking down or causing me any harm.

There's a point (for me) where the convenience factor does outweigh most of the risks, given the fact that we're not talking about risks of immediate, grievous bodily harm. It all depends on your perspective.
post #9 of 9
"but sometimes it's tough to see for all the anti-modernity hysterics."

Huh? Did we read the same two articles?

There certainly is a lot of anti-modernity hysteria surrounding this issue. But it did not show up in either of those articles.

>given the fact that we're not talking about risks of immediate, grievous bodily harm. It all depends on your perspective.<

What an incredibly short-sighted & selfish viewpoint. Did you dream that up while grabbing a smoke out back?

The fact is, some toxins are cumulative, and it's the build-up over time that does the dirty deed. You may be willing to overlook them. But what about the effects on your children and grandchildren? Oh, wait. They're not immediate and grievous, so I guess they don't count.

There is nothing about teflon that makes it essential to cookware. Kitchens, both professional and at home, have done without it quite nicely for several thousand years. The question of toxicity is chronic enough that I, for one, will continue without it until such time as the jury returns.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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