Hazards of Parchment Paper
George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images
As fear of cooking with plastics and metals increases, parchment paper has become a popular alternative to materials like aluminium foil and cling film.
While aluminium foil is an extremely common cooking tool and has no demonstrated risks, chemicals that may leech from heated plastic make parchment paper a viable option. Parchment paper is flammable at very high temperatures, which is the only known danger associated with this cooking material.
Safe Uses for Parchment Paper
The FDA has deemed parchment paper a hazard-free material for use in microwaves. Using parchment paper to cover your food can prevent contamination, splattering and dryness, and helps food cook evenly. Parchment paper can also be used in the oven below broiling temperatures.
When to Abstain from Using Parchment Paper
Parchment paper should not be used in a toaster oven. Due to the small size of these ovens, the paper is likely to come in contact with hot metal or the heating element and could cause a fire. Never use parchment paper on a barbecue or grill for the same reason. While parchment paper can be used in the oven, it should only be used to cover dishes and should not be used at broiling temperatures as it may ignite.
Hazardous Materials Replaced by Parchment Paper
Parchment paper does not contain the hazardous materials found in other conventional cooking tools, and can often be used as a replacement. Parchment paper can replace cooking with plastic storage and freezer bags, brown paper bags, plastic grocery bags, aluminium foil and newspapers, all of which are unsafe in the microwave. Parchment paper can also replace waxed paper, as heated wax can soften and leak into food.
Using Parchment Paper to Avoid Plastic Hazards
Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Parchment paper can primarily be used as a replacement for plastics. When plastic is heated, chemicals used to manufacture the plastic can leak into food. These materials are called platicizers, Their impact on human health has yet to be firmly established, but many people choose to avoid this potential hazard by using parchment paper in place of plastic to cover and heat food, and using glass or ceramic dishes. While it is impossible to predict whether scientists will discover hazards with using parchment paper, currently this cooking tool appears to be a safe option.
- "Cooking With Parchment Paper-Nitty Gritty Cookbooks"; David Diresta; 1994
- "Cooking in Parchment Paper"; Nicholas Soyer; 1930
- George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images