Is Silicone Safe?

October 18, 2010 | 7 Comments

We have received a couple questions from a reader who has some concerns with silicone.  We received these questions through facebook and would love it if you would become a facebook fan too!

Is silicone safe? It seems like so many things are made with silicone. Are we going to find out in a year that it’s not safe?

We believe silicone to be a safe alternative to plastics, right?  I mean, silicone is everywhere our babies are sucking, and for long periods of time.  Pacifiers, baby bottle nipples, teething toys, storage jars, freezer trays and more. Are we going to find out in a year that it’s not safe is an eyebrow lifting question.

We contacted the Consumer Product Safety division from Heath Canada and thinkBaby founder Kevin Brodwick, to find our more about tested silicone safety.  Additionally we had contacted a very reputable on-line retailer whom specializes in silicone products for babies as being a safe alternative to plastics but never heard anything back from them, even after several emails.  Hummmm.

Is Silicone Really Safe For Our Babies?

Silicone is an “inert, synthetic compound” according to Wikipedia and that seems to be a safe alternative to plastics.  But is this true?   Frederick S. vom Saal, Curators’ Professor/Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia stated to us that silicone is NOT INERT if it gets into the body.  Hummm.   Has silicone really been tested and proven safe for our babies and children to suck on and teeth with?

Safbaby: We are very curious about the tested safety of silicone for our babies and children.  These days there are so many products (pacifiers, bottle nipples, toys, etc.) made from silicone.  It seems to be a safer alternative to plastics, but we are curious to know if there has been any studies that have measured showing what leaches off baby products during use.

Consumer Product Safety division from Heath Canada: Thank you for your inquiry regarding the use of silicone in the manufacture of children’s products  such as pacifiers, bottle nipples, toys, etc.  The Consumer Product Safety programe at Health Canada is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and its associated Regulations. The HPA provides authority to prohibit or restrict the advertising, sale and importation of hazardous or potentially hazardous products in Canada.

Currently, Health Canada has not conducted studies on the use of silicone in the manufacture of children’s products such as pacifiers, bottle nipples, toys, etc.

Kevin Brodwick, founder of thinkbaby and thinksport: We have never seen data that shows silicone to be harmful.  Not to say that you can’t make anything harmful.  Silicone used to have nitrosamines but most companies are testing for this.  Some companies use latex, but rubber poses quite a few potential issues.  Mainly some children can have allergic reactions to it.  And I’ve read that there are various forms of chemicals that would not be potentially safe to bind the rubber together.  On the flip side, there is quite a bit of evidence now that breast milk can be fraught with chemicals.  I think one study showed 95% of breast milk that was tested had BPA.  It stands to follow actually since many chemicals are not dealt with in the body, so they freely bounce around until they can make their escape. Back to your original question, we have not seen any studies that indicate that silicone has harmful effects.

Our conclusion:
If there are no studies, there’s no evidence it IS NOT safe. So, it may indeed be a safer alternative but we can’t say for sure it is a SAFE ALTERNATIVE, until there are further studies done.  We are open to all comments/discussions here, as always.

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Category: 0-1 yr, 1-3 yrs, BPA-Free, Drinking, Feeding

  • Andrea

    Thanks, Kevin for avoiding the question and bringing another stressful, unanswerable situation in to make things difficult.

    Thanks, Safbaby, for always asking the tough questions.

  • http://tarahlinda.wordpress.com tarahlinda

    I completely agree with your conclusion about the safety of silicone. How is it that there aren’t ANY studies on it? How does something get on the market without any research on its safety?

  • beekhay

    response to tarahlinda:

    There are hundreds of new boutique custom-designed plastics and rubbers developed every year and the number is increasing due to the advance of low-volume plastics manufacturing technology. The government’s ability to fully test all these new plastics is near zero due to many years of defunding these parts of our government in the name of deregulation and enabling entrepreneurship. There is also no pressure on businesses to conduct testing on these new plastics. In order to change this we can vote for candidates that believe in holding businesses accountable for the safety of their products by requiring actual and effective testing of new formulations of plastics. It’s a long road though because of the radical atrophying of regulating bodies since the Reagan era.

    Complicating this are technologies enabling plastics engineers to make new formulations of plastics that have never been used before. They do this in order to make plastics and rubbers with really specific properties such as a particular degree of translucency and texture. That’s how we have lots of sticky gels like you see in Oxo Goodgrips products and many many many many more.

  • adel

    i have tried to also reach for an answer for the same question and i have a query for that, what about natural rubber or what they call Latex as an alternative, i heard that it is natural and safer than Silicon? what do you think?

  • http://www.couplesfacingillness.com Lacy July

    Have been writing professionally for over 30 years (since teens) and spent 5 years researching silicone implants (various types) and interviewing scientists, doctors, & reviewing hundreds of studies. Spoke at the IOM in DC as well on this topic. Findings: Silicone is manufactured with 30 to 40 chemicals that YES, over time do leach out into surrounding environment. Silicone is NOT inert but bloggers/writers all over the internet are quoting “silicone manufacturers” and companies that sell silicone devices – and of course, they are wrongly stating the safety of these products (guess why? they make gazillions on the sell of the devices!) Check out following: AND,

  • Daisy

    It’s hard to believe silicone could be completely safe, and yet it’s hard to avoid completely, especially when it comes to pacifiers and nipples for baby bottles. There are a lot of other concerns with formula, too, and yet breast milk is laced with chemicals. What a quandary! The answer has to be to lobby Congress to pass the Safe Chemicals Act. This would require companies to prove that chemicals are safe, before they are added to consumer products. You can go to http://www.saferchemicals.org/safe-chemicals-act/index.html to find out more. It’s up to us, Moms!! I would also like to suggest that there are other alternatives to some silicone products. For example, I use aluminum bakeware and parchment paper for baking (those silicone molds make me nervous), and you can buy organic terry cloth teethers for baby.

  • http://www.theecomum.com Louisa – The Eco mum

    @Daisy – it is SUCH a quandry; I fully agree!

    Here in Australia I have been using 100% totally certified organic formula for my daughter since my milk gave out. I recently switched over to glass bottles for her because I have done research and found out that #5 plastic leaches oleamide & biocides (EPA classified it as a pesticide – ARGH! In our baby bottles!) because #7 plastic leaches BPA and now this with silicone…

    What to do except hide in a bubble for the rest of our lives?

    There are natural / organic rubber dummies & teats for babies (some children are allergic to natural rubber; which is naught to do with the rubber itself & more to do with their immune systems having been weakened by constant exposure to toxic chemicals) so there is a way around it…

    The other thing is, basically, we live in a world now where we simply CAN NOT escape toxic environmental pollution. The Inuits are affected, our toxic pollution travels as far north & south as the Poles! Its everywhere!

    We can only limit our exposure & engage in detoxification practices; organic foods limit exposure to pesticides & GMO’s, natural products (no plastic) limit exposure to BPA, phthalates & other nasties, organic cotton sheets & bedding limits exposure to flame retardants… just means alot of research & being vigilent about sharing what you know & avoiding companies doing the wrong thing by us.

    Makes me SO angry as a new mother that I, despite researchin EVERYTHING day after day (see my blog – I put all my reseach on there) that I have still harmed my baby without realising.

    We have to stand up and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Its not right, its not fair, its not ethical & it needs to stop!

    THanks to @Lacy for that very valuable information regarding silicone. I knew that we were being fed lies about; just like plastics, DDT, asbestos – have we learnt NOTHING as a species from our past mistakes??? Apparently not…

    Annoyed mother from Australia,
    The Eco Mum

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