Silicone is a relatively new ingredient in air fryer accessories, with many companies claiming that their products are actually safe to put into an air fryer. However, silicone is not necessarily non-toxic or safe for direct heating. At the end of the day, it only takes one tiny mistake (like overheating your accessory by mistake) and you might be looking at some serious health problems. And even if you don’t make any mistakes, prolonged skin contact with heated silicone has its own set of dangers that we’ll cover later on in this article.
Your best bet is to play it safe and avoid silicone unless there’s 100% confirmation from an independent 3rd party source that your specific type of silicone can handle heat up to 260°C/500°F.
Most air fryer manufacturers don’t mention anything about the safety of their silicone accessories, but we did find one exception: Philips. They state that their accessories can be used in an oven and microwave (with appropriate lids), but we also contacted them directly to ask if they consider putting their silicone accessories into a hot air fryer safe or unsafe. Their answer was that it’s “not advisable” and they stopped short of giving us a clear “no”.
If you put Silicone Accessories in your Air Fryer by Mistake… Silicone isn’t exactly organic – it’s an organic-synthetic compound derived from silica, sand, or flint. This means that when heated to very high temperatures, silicone can give off fumes that are toxic to inhale. 1
In early 2017, a woman from the UK tragically died after using a Lékué silicon accessory for her air fryer and then inhaling fumes from the melted silicone. She was rushed to a hospital where she later died of acute respiratory failure. The coroner’s report concluded that inhalation toxicity due to ingestion, or inhalation into the lungs, was a significant factor in her death. 2 This means there is no guarantee you will survive if you make this mistake yourself.
Even if you do manage to survive, breathing in heated silicone particles has been known to cause long-term health issues such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 3 Silicosis 4 Silicone Granuloma 5 We suspect that there might be other health issues caused by silicone inhalation, but we couldn’t find any more info on the subject.
What about eating Silicone?
If someone claims their air fryer accessory is safe to ingest and you cook with it for a few years, will you (or your children) develop cancer or another serious medical condition in the long run? There’s no way of knowing for certain until it actually happens. However, based on our understanding of how silicone compounds work when heated up, we would not recommend eating silicone-coated anything if you can avoid it.
If you do want to give it a go, then make sure you choose a 100% food grade silicone accessory. This is often referred to as “BPA free” silicone, and it’s usually the only type of silicone that can be safely heated up enough for cooking purposes.
We now know that heating up BPA-free silicone doesn’t pose a significant health risk in itself, but ingesting even a tiny bit might not be a good idea if you’re concerned about your family’s long-term health.
Another thing to keep in mind is that food grade SILICONE DOES NOT MIX WELL with CARCINOGENIC CHEMICALS such as polycarbonate (PC), so don’t cook with any silicone items containing bisphenol A (BPA/V or phthalates). 7 You can find out if your silicone item contains BPA/V by checking out the 7th number on its official recycling code (ex. “7-PC”).
If you want to stay on the safe side, don’t use air fryers with silicone parts at all. Just like with microwaves, there are plenty of other ways to cook quickly without exposing your family to potential toxins.
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