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Old 02-11-2005, 03:07 PM   #1
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My grandad, for some reason, stores the pan he fries eggs in and the spatula he uses in his oven. Somehow this slipped my mind today.

I decided to make a batch of muffins, and preheated the oven. I opened the oven door to see that the spatula handle had melted and was gooped on the floor of the oven like taffy. I pulled the pan and spatula out, and stuck my muffins in.

There was no smoke, and no unusual odors. There was a pop sound after it had been baking around ten minutes, but nothing exploded or caught fire.

The muffins finished baking and I'm sitting here with one in front of me right now, smelling delicious and looking completely harmless.

Does anyone know whether it's safe to eat it? I'm gonna give it until three thirty and if no tells me "No! Don't do it!" I'll go ahead and try it.


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Old 02-11-2005, 03:34 PM   #2
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Good question - I don't know the answer to this - makes me wonder though. Anyone know????


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Old 02-11-2005, 03:43 PM   #3
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I"m not sure but, if you cooked the muffins and the melted plastic was still on the bottom of the oven... I don't think it'd be to healthy... imho
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Old 02-11-2005, 03:48 PM   #4
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I'm not too sure about plastic "cooking" and releasing whatever plastic releases while the muffins are cooking too.

My biologist friend said if you don't smell anything on the muffins they are probably fine. He explained that the muffins are cooking from the inside out - expanding - not absorbing. Also, if nothing collected on the top of the oven then nothing could drip into them.

He said the popping noise may have been the bottom unit shorting out. Double check it to see if it still is working.

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Old 02-11-2005, 04:17 PM   #5
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MOst plastic cooking ustensiles are made from nylon. It gives off a fould odor when burned but is not particualrly poisonous unless breathed directly in, and even then is more of an iritant. It will stink up the house if left on the oven floor, and heated to the smoking point.

The popping sound was most likely caused by the plastic changing from a liquid to solid state in the hot oven, or the release of gasses as it boiled.

As your bioligist freind stated, steam and carbon dioxide gasses exert positive pressure (outward from the muffin center) and will inhibit absorption of any noxious gasses. But there would be surface deposites of ash particulates if smoke was present. With no smoke, or foul odors, most likely the nylon didn't get hot enough to degrade. It just liquified.

If hot nylon was unsafe, they wouldn't make spatulas and cake turners from it that are used on hot surfaces. It really is one of the safer plastics.

I'm not a chemest though, and am taking an educated guess. For reliable information, contact someone at Dow Chemical, or do an online search from a reliable source.

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Old 02-11-2005, 04:21 PM   #6
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Yikes! I'm not an expert but I would give the oven a thorough cleaning before I used it again. With all due respect to Elf's friend, plastics give off dangerous fumes (including CFCs) when heated to the extreme and they don't necessarily have an odor. I'd junk the muffins and get out the oven cleaner.

EDIT: If it makes you feel better I also have a habit of storing dirty pans in the oven. I've burned up a few, too! :oops:
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Old 02-11-2005, 05:20 PM   #7
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Our babysitter once tried to cook the kids a pizza using a large plastic chopping board as a baking sheet. The smell was horrible, and although they cleaned up as best they could, it took me ages to scrape the plastic off my oven, so I can sympathise with you!

As for safety - I don't really know - what I do know is that 'smell' is created by airborne molecules of the substance dissolving in the mucus surrounding the olfactory cilia in the roof of your nasal cavity, so if you smell plastic, then it's for certain that molecules of that plastic are dissolving over your mucus membranes. That doesn't necessarily mean that no smell means it's safe though - some things either don't smell, or we don't have a sensitive enough olfactory system to detect them (dogs do though!). I guess you could feed a muffin to a dog and see if a) it eats it, b) it survives (just kidding!).


P.S. I store my cast iron pans in the oven - I even sometimes hide Christmas presents in there.......but that's another story LOL!
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:31 PM   #8
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eat it and see what happens.

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