How Toxic is Aluminum Cookware?

Written by Dr. Sharyn Wynters

Cooking that turkey in an aluminum pan?  Know the facts about aluminum

More than half of all cookware sold today is made of aluminum because it is lightweight and because it heats evenly. If untreated aluminum is used in the preparation of salty or acid foods, large amounts of aluminum can be released into food. This is evidenced by the pitting of aluminum foil when it is in contact with these types of foods for more than several hours. However, most aluminum today is anodized (dipped in a hot acidic solution). Anodization seals aluminum making it scratch resistant and easy to clean. The process modifies the molecular structure so that aluminum is not released into food. Acidic foods cooked in anodized aluminum do not react with the cookware, and most authorities believe that anodized aluminum cookware is safe. At this time, there is no evidence to the contrary. The use of aluminum foil is another matter; it should never be used to cover or contain foods where the aluminum comes in direct contact with food.

Aluminum is a growing concern—especially because of its link to Alzheimer’s disease and to other neurological problems which are becoming more and more common.  But the difficulty is likely not with aluminum cookware. Many common foods and food additives contain aluminum, including pickling agents (alum), anti-caking agents (aluminum silicates), baking powders (sodium aluminum sulfate), and baking mixes (sodium aluminum phosphate). The average person’s intake from food additives is about 20 milligrams per day. Nondairy creamers, self-rising flour, processed cheeses, and cheese spreads also contain aluminum. These sources can provide up to 100 milligrams of aluminum a day. The largest source of aluminum is buffered aspirin and antacids. These can add 500 to 5,000 milligrams per day. Next to these sources, the amounts that have been found to leach from aluminum cookware are trivial.

Aluminum soft drink cans have also been cited as a possible source of aluminum toxicity.  However, aluminum cans are lined with a plastic resin; aluminum contamination is limited to those cans that are bent or damaged, and where the resin is compromised. The greater risk from aluminum cans is the plastic resin liner known to leach BPA.

Aluminum is not easily absorbed through the digestive tract, so even the above sources of aluminum may not be the cause of aluminum toxicity. Exposure to aluminum through the skin appears to be an even greater risk. Personal care products often contain aluminum—especially antiperspirant deodorants.

So, If you are planning to cook that Thanksgiving turkey in an aluminum pan, make sure it is in a cooking bag…. and don’t wrap your leftovers in aluminum. But even more important, “Don’t sweat the Holidays!.” If you do, be sure and replace your antiperspirant with a brand that doesn’t contain aluminum.

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Dr. Sharyn Wynters is the author of The Pure Cure: A Guide to Freeing Your Life From Dangerous Toxins. When you purchase a copy by clicking the link below, a portion of the proceeds benefit Cancer Schmancer.