Parchment paper, also known as “baking paper,” is a widely used product in kitchens around the world. It is estimated that the parchment paper industry is worth over $960 million, indicating its popularity and widespread use.
However, concerns have been raised about the safety of parchment paper and whether its chemicals can leach into food. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of parchment paper, the potential risks associated with its use, and alternative options for cooking and baking.
Parchment paper is a type of paper that has undergone the parchment process. Most commercially produced parchment paper is treated with silicone, which enhances its durability and resistance to oil.
The silicone coating makes parchment paper heat resistant and non-stick, making it a convenient choice for various culinary applications.
While parchment paper offers convenience and ease of use, there are reasons to exercise caution when using it for cooking and baking. One concern is the bleaching process involved in the production of parchment paper.
Bleached parchment paper may contain dioxin, a toxic chemical that can be released when heated. Dioxin has been linked to various reproductive and developmental diseases.
When this toxic chemical enters our food, it can transfer to the fatty tissues in our bodies and remain there for as long as 7-11 years.
Another aspect of concern is the silicone coating present on parchment paper. Silicone cookware is made from a combination of silicon, carbon, and/or oxygen, creating a rubber-like substance.
While silicone cookware generally exhibits higher heat resistance than plastic, it is still made with synthetic rubber, which ideally should not come into contact with our food. Silicone bakeware can release chemicals, especially in the presence of oils, raising concerns about potential health risks.
Interestingly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognized silicon dioxides, the basic elements in silicone cookware, as safe for food-grade contexts back in 1979, a decade prior to the invention of silicone spatulas.
However, no follow-up studies have been conducted by the FDA to determine whether silicone can leach out of cookware and contaminate food. Moreover, studies have found siloxanes leaching from silicone nipples in baby bottles and bakeware, with siloxanes being potentially carcinogenic and endocrine disruptors.
Additionally, a scientific research study has linked silicone gel to lethal cancer in rats, raising concerns about the safety of silicone in any form.
Here is a list of 5 Alternative Bakeware Options:
- Non-Stick/ Non-Toxic Baking Sheets
- Stainless Steel Chemical-Free Bakeware
- Pure Ceramic Non-Toxic Bakeware (& Unglazed Stoneware)
- Silicone Non-Toxic Bakeware
- Glass Non-Toxic Bakeware
These materials are safe, durable, and do not pose the same risks associated with chemicals leaching into food. Similarly, storing food in glass containers eliminates the need for parchment paper when it comes to storage.