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Toxic Chemical Glossary:
What are Siloxanes: Chemical Free Living

What are siloxanes?

Siloxanes are silicone-based compounds that are generally used for their softening, smoothing, and moistening action. They make products like deodorants slide on more easily, and leave hair and skin more soft and silky.

What products are siloxanes in?

Siloxanes are in products that contain silicon such as silicone baking utensils and pans, baby nipples, and pacifiers, medical devices and implants, water-repellent windshield coating, construction lubricants and sealants as well as deodorant creams and moisturizers [1].

How to tell if a product has siloxanes

Siloxanes may be present in products that contain cyclomethicone, cyclotetrasiloxane, cylcopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxan or silicon in its chemical formula [2] as well as in ingredients that end with the word “siloxane”.  Other synonyms for siloxane include: siloxanes and silcones, antifoam FD 62, DIME, DC 35A, DC 360, dimethyl siloxane, Dow Corning 200, Dow Corning 561, dimethylpolysiloxane, KO 08, or PMS 1.5 [2].

Risks associated with siloxanes

The primary health concerns associated with siloxanes have focused primarily on D4 and D5 compounds that are toxic and bioaccumulative [1] [2]. Potentially negative health effects include the following [1]:

  • Reproductive issues
  • Liver problems
  • Benign uterine tumors
  • Uterine cancer
  • Adverse reproductive effects
  • Adverse neurological effects
  • Immunity issues
  • Endocrine disruption

How to avoid siloxanes

Avoid siloxane by reading product labels and avoiding cookware and personal care products that contain siloxanes and silcones, antifoam FD 62, DIME, DC 35A, DC 360, dimethyl siloxane, Dow Corning 200, Dow Corning 561, dimethylpolysiloxane, KO 08, or PMS 1.5 [2]. Look for toxic chemical free cookware alternatives like glass or ceramic. For personal care products, do your own research on a product’s ingredients by using a resource such as the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep product database.

References:

[1] Healthy Child Healthy World (2014). From bottle nipples to baked goods: is silicone safe? Available online: http://www.healthychild.org/easy-steps/from-bottle-nipples-to-baked-goods-is-silicone-safe/ December 8, 2016.

[2] EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (2007-2016). Dimethyl Siloxanes and Silicones. Available online: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/725443/DIMETHYL_SILOXANES_AND_SILICONES/ December 8, 2016.

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