thermometer on fire

I was roasting some cauliflower and squash and after about 10 minutes or so went to check the oven and saw something on fire on the oven floor. I took out the trays and saw it was our oven thermometer that must have fallen on the heating element. The outside rubber (?!) was on fire and half turned to dust. I am now wondering if the smoke from that is A) toxic or bad and B) now a part of my veggies. I would list the brand but I can't read it. It is one thing to poison myself but quite another to poison friends and loved ones who would be eating this food tonight.



sdebrango July 10, 2013
I have a Taylor stainless steel, has lasted for years and was very inexpensive.
ChefOno July 10, 2013

Unlike most polymers, silicone does not emit toxic fumes when burned. Silicone + oxygen = silicon dioxide + carbon dioxide + water. (Silicon dioxide is commonly known as "sand".)

savorthis July 10, 2013
Good idea. Though the lady at oxo told me to throw it all out. :( I will definitely be looking for a new thermometer WITHOUT rubber on it. So I might start a new thread now asking for oven thermometer recommendations for thermometers you can actually READ that don't CATCH ON FIRE.
HalfPint July 10, 2013
I have something similar to this one. Mostly metal. And it hasn't caught fire in over 8 years.
HalfPint July 10, 2013
Sorry here's the link,
HalfPint July 10, 2013
Yikes, not sure what happened to the pasting function, but it's a Taylor 5932 Oven Thermometer
Rebecca V. July 10, 2013
I have a Polder stainless steel one... that won't catch fire! Less than $10 on Amazon. Long-term exposure to heated plastic makes me nervous. Good luck finding one!
savorthis July 10, 2013
It did not actually smell so bad. I did determine it was an oxo brand so the ring is silicone. From what I have read so far it doesn't SEEM to be toxic, but I am not 100% convinced yet with my own sleuthing. Am on hold with oxo now....!
Rebecca V. July 10, 2013
The link I sent also suggests calling a Poisons Control hotline. I imagine they deal with burning plastic a lot!
Rebecca V. July 10, 2013
Found this:

Seems like there are more toxic things that go into ovens (oven cleaner), and that while the burning plastic is not a good thing, it probably hasn't hurt anyone yet. The roasted veg is certainly not better for having been exposed, and if it's going to preoccupy you to feed it to other people I would consider discarding it. On the other hand, lots of food has lots more wrong with it! Depends on how purist you are, not whether it's going to kill anyone. (I am, however, not a qualified food scientist in this respect! Good luck.)
boulangere July 10, 2013
This is one of those "just when you think you've heard it all" events. I'll be honest with you: I have no idea if your food has been rendered toxic. That said, my guess would be probably so. Burning rubber of any kind is something to stay far from, and your lovely cauliflower and squash were very close to it. I suppose the good news is that neither cauliflower nor squash is terribly expensive, so the loss is pretty minimal, aside from the loss of your thermometer. I'd suggest a run to the grocery story, or a turn to Plan B. It's actually rather sweet that your concern is for your guests, not what must be a dreadful odor in your kitchen.
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