True Cellular Formulas Team - March 18, 2024

Navigating the World of Silicone Products

Safety Beyond the Kitchen


In recent years, the spotlight has turned to the materials we use in our kitchens, particularly focusing on the safety and environmental impact of these choices. Silicone cookware, once hailed as a non-stick and heat-resistant marvel, has come under scrutiny for its potential to leach toxic chemicals when exposed to high heat.[1-2] This revelation has led many to question the safety of silicone in other forms. But what about silicone products that aren't destined for the oven or stovetop, like ice trays, snack bags, and bottle nipples? The good news is, these items are generally considered safer, due to their use in cooler conditions that don't facilitate the release of harmful substances. Yet, as we navigate through the myriad of silicone products available, understanding their impact on our health and environment becomes crucial.

Understanding Silicone: A Mixed Bag

Silicone, a synthetic rubber composed of silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen, has become a ubiquitous material in the product industry due to its flexibility, durability, and resistance to temperature changes. It's found in everything from kitchen utensils and bakeware to baby products and personal care items. The appeal of silicone lies in its supposed inertness; it does not react with most materials and is believed to be largely non-toxic. When it comes to non-cooking applications, such as in ice trays or snack bags, silicone offers a seemingly safer alternative to plastics, which can contain harmful chemicals like BPA and phthalates. However, the narrative of silicone's safety is more nuanced. While it is less likely to leach harmful chemicals at lower temperatures, questions remain about its long-term exposure effects, especially when in contact with fatty foods or over extended periods.[3-4]

The Good News: Lower Risk with Non-Cooking Use

The primary concern with silicone cookware revolves around the high temperatures it encounters, which can potentially cause the material to break down and release siloxanes—a type of silicone compound—into food and air. However, for silicone products that are used in cooler environments, such as ice trays, snack bags, and bottle nipples, the risk of such chemical leaching is significantly reduced. Research suggests that these items are less likely to release harmful substances, making them a safer option for storing food and beverages. This is particularly reassuring for parents using silicone bottle nipples, as they can be more confident about the lack of toxic exposure to their infants.[5] Moreover, the inherent properties of silicone, like its resistance to microbial growth and ease of cleaning, add to its appeal for such applications, presenting a practical and relatively safe solution for everyday use.

The Caveats: Not All Silicone is Created Equal

Despite the reassurances, it's important to note that not all silicone products are made the same. The market is flooded with variations in quality, and this discrepancy can affect the material's safety, especially when it comes to food-related products. Low-quality silicone may contain fillers or additives that can leach out over time, particularly when in contact with fatty substances, which have a tendency to absorb more of these potentially harmful chemicals. This underscores the necessity of selecting 100% food-grade silicone, especially for products that come into direct contact with food or beverages. Consumers should look for labels that specify food-grade silicone and be wary of products that lack transparency regarding their material composition. By prioritizing high-quality silicone, users can mitigate the risks associated with chemical leaching and ensure a safer experience with these versatile products.

Alternatives to Silicone: Exploring Safer Options

While silicone presents a less risky option compared to traditional plastics, especially when not used in cooking, it's not the only choice available for those concerned about chemical exposure. There are several non-toxic, environmentally friendly alternatives that can serve similar purposes without the potential for harmful side effects. For instance, stainless steel ice trays offer a durable and completely non-toxic option for freezing water, negating any concern about chemical leaching. Similarly, food wraps made from beeswax provide a natural, reusable solution for covering dishes or wrapping food, supporting both health and sustainability. These alternatives not only minimize the risk of chemical exposure but also contribute to a reduction in plastic waste, aligning with a more eco-conscious lifestyle. By exploring these options, consumers can make informed decisions that align with their health priorities and environmental values.

Practical Tips for Consumers

Making the switch to safer materials in the kitchen and beyond doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are some practical tips for consumers looking to minimize their exposure to potentially toxic chemicals in silicone and other materials:

  • Prioritize Quality: Always opt for 100% food-grade silicone when purchasing silicone products. Look for specific mentions of this grade on the packaging or product descriptions.
  • Read Labels Carefully: Be vigilant about labels and product information. Avoid products that don't clearly state their material composition or seem suspiciously cheap, as they may contain harmful fillers.
  • Consider Alternatives: Where possible, choose alternatives like glass, stainless steel, or natural materials (e.g., bamboo, beeswax wraps) for food storage and preparation. These materials are generally safer and more sustainable.
  • Regular Inspection: Regularly inspect your silicone products for signs of wear and tear. Degrading silicone may pose a higher risk of leaching chemicals, so it's best to replace items that show significant deterioration.
  • Stay Informed: Keep abreast of the latest research and recommendations regarding silicone and other materials used in consumer products. Consumer awareness can drive demand for safer, more transparent product labeling and manufacturing practices.

By following these guidelines, consumers can navigate the complex landscape of modern materials with greater confidence, ensuring their choices support both their health and the environment.


As we delve deeper into the materials that make up our everyday products, it's clear that silicone offers a safer alternative to plastics, especially outside the realm of cooking. However, this doesn't grant it a free pass. The quality of silicone and the specific uses it's put to play significant roles in its safety profile. By opting for high-quality, food-grade silicone and considering non-toxic alternatives for certain applications, consumers can mitigate potential risks. Understanding the nuances of these materials empowers us to make informed choices that reflect our health and environmental values. In the evolving conversation about safe and sustainable materials, knowledge and discernment are key.

  1. Mojsiewicz-Pieńkowska, Krystyna et al. “Direct Human Contact with Siloxanes (Silicones) - Safety or Risk Part 1. Characteristics of Siloxanes (Silicones).” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 7 132. 30 May. 2016, doi:10.3389/fphar.2016.00132
  2. SILOXANES - Consumption, Toxicity and Alternatives, Accessed 20 Feb. 2024. 
  3. Ruediger Helling, Anja Mieth, Stefan Altmann, Thomas Joachim Simat. Determination of the overall migration from silicone baking moulds into simulants and food using 1H-NMR techniques. Food Additives and Contaminants, 2009, 26 (03), pp.395-407. 10.1080/02652030802520852 . hal-00577342
  4. Helling R, Kutschbach K, Joachim Simat T. Migration behaviour of silicone moulds in contact with different foodstuffs.Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2010;27(3):396-405. doi:10.1080/19440040903341869
  5. Zhang K, Wong JW, Begley TH, Hayward DG, Limm W. Determination of siloxanes in silicone products and potential migration to milk, formula and liquid simulants. Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2012;29(8):1311-1321. doi:10.1080/19440049.2012.684891

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