Silicones are produced by reacting silicon—one of the earth's most common elements- with methyl chloride and further reaction with water which removes the chlorine atom. This reaction produces polymers that are resistant to high and low temperatures and are used in thousands of products in applications including health care, transportation (e.g., aerospace and automotive), textiles, electronics, and construction.
The common building blocks used to manufacture silicone polymers are known as cyclosiloxanes and linear siloxanes. These substances share a common chemistry, but each substance is different with regard to its specific properties and uses. The most common of these silicone substances in commercial use are known as D4, D5, D6, L2, L3, L4, and L5.
Silicones have an exceptional breadth of chemical and physical properties. Silicones are flexible and resist moisture, chemicals, heat, cold and ultraviolet radiation. Products made with silicones take on these and other important properties so they are more stable, more aesthetically pleasing, easier to use or apply, and longer lasting.
Silicones help make products more sustainable in several markets, including the transportation, electronics, energy, and consumer product sectors.
- Silicone materials have been subject to hundreds of scientific studies showing that they are safe for human health, when used for their intended purposes.
- Risk evaluations have been conducted by several regulatory agencies such as Environment Canada, Health Canada, Australia Departments of Environment and Health, UK regulatory bodies, as well as expert scientific panels such as the Cosmetic Ingredient Review and the EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. All of these risk assessments concluded that there is no risk to human health from silicone materials when used as intended.
Uses & Benefits
- Solar Panels
- Wind Turbines
- Electrical Devices &
- Fuel Efficiency
- Keypads & Key boards
- Cell phones
- Medical Tubing
- Ventilation masks
Common Silicone Substances
Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) is an odorless, colorless non-oily silicone fluid used primarily to make other silicone materials. During this manufacturing process, virtually all of the material is consumed, with only a tiny amount of D4 remaining. Additionally, D4 is a critical substance for electronic component manufacturing.
Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) also is an odorless, colorless non-oily siloxane fluid used as an ingredient in personal care and consumer products and in dry cleaning.
In personal care products, D5 acts as a "carrier," allowing products to spread smoothly and easily, providing a silky, luxurious feel during application. In dry cleaning, D5 carries detergent to clothes and rinses away suspended dirt and oils trapped by the detergent. It does not interact with textiles and, therefore, helps maintain the quality and color of clothes that are dry cleaned.
D5 is among the most extensively studied materials used in consumer and industrial applications. More than 50 studies have been conducted and the data support that D5 is safe when used as intended.
Dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane (D6) is an, odorless, colorless liquid mostly used as an intermediate or basic raw material in the production of silicone rubbers, gels, and resins. D6 can also be used as an ingredient in silicone mixtures used in cosmetic applications such as skin creams and deodorants.
D4, D5 and D6 are among the most extensively studied chemicals used in consumer and industrial applications. Data generated from these studies support the safety of these substances and demonstrate that the products in which they are a component are safe when used as intended.
Hexamethyldisiloxane (L2) is a colorless liquid and used in liquid bandages to protect damaged skin from irritation from other body fluids. It is also used in applications for the semiconductor industry.
Octamethyltrisiloxane (L3) is a clear, transparent viscous liquid and is used in adhesives and conductive materials. It is also used in the cosmetics and apparel industries.
Decamethyltetrasiloxane (L4) is a colorless liquid that is used as an intermediate in the manufacture of other chemical compounds and in cleaning products. It is also used in colorants and in personal care products.
Dodecamethylpentasiloxane (L5) is a colorless liquid and is used to make silicone oils and as a petroleum lubricating oil ingredient.
Independent scientific studies, voluntary industry stewardship efforts, and regulatory evaluations have all demonstrated the safety of L2, L3, L4, and L5. No jurisdiction in the world has imposed any regulation or restriction on these substances when used in their intended applications.