Interview by SafBaby Founders Sandra Blum and Samantha Fox Olson
We have received a couple of 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: pacifiers, baby bottle nipples, teething toys, storage jars, freezer trays and more. And our babies are sucking on these products and for long periods of time. “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 of Heath Canada and thinkBaby founder Kevin Brodwick, to find out more about tested silicone safety. Additionally we had contacted a very reputable on-line retailer who specializes in silicone products for babies as being a safe alternative to plastics but never heard anything back from them, even after several emails. Hmmmm.
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. Hmmm. Has silicone really been tested and proven safe for our babies and children to suck on and teethe 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 have 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 programme 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.