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Aluminium and Aluminium Cookware and Their Effects on Health

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Aluminium Foil

About Aluminium

Aluminium is the 3rd most common metal found in our environment. It is in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the ground we walk on. Since it is inexpensive, aluminium today is used in the manufacture of a variety of cookware as well as a number of products that we use every day. The quality of cookware is very important not only in cooking but healthy cooking and this article will look into the health aspect of aluminium from various angles.

Aluminium cookware came into the market after the 1st World war. Since they were cheap and lightweight, they were preferred over the heavy and difficult to clean iron pans. Today 90% or more households use aluminium cookware to cook food and boil liquids. This increasing use of aluminium cookware spread because of the unawareness of the harm aluminium causes to health.

Aluminium is cheap, is a good conductor of heat and hence is used to manufacture all kinds of cookware and other kitchen utensils. Aluminium is also used in the manufacture of storage equipment, manufacturing equipment and even equipment used to milch animals.

Aluminium is also used in gas and water heaters so water is also contaminated in a big way. It is believed that over 70% of all processed food could be contaminated with aluminium.

Tip No 1

One point to keep in mind is that anytime aluminium cookware or manual juicing equipment (anodized or not) becomes pitted or pockmarked or has scrapes or gouges, its use should be abandoned.

Some Areas Where Aluminium Is Used

Other uses of aluminium include the production of :

  • Beverage and Food cans
  • Aluminium foil manufacture
  • Salt and sugar - to make it free-flowing
  • White flour - as a bleaching agent
  • Cake mixes and baking powder
  • Processed cheese
  • Tea
  • Toothpaste
  • Cosmetics, sunscreens, antiperspirants
  • Antacids and antidiarrheals
  • Infant foods

Effects Of Aluminium On Liquids

Any liquid that is boiled in an aluminium vessel gets charged with aluminium ions. Even boiling for as low as 2 minutes makes the liquid charged with a high and potent force of aluminium. The ugliest part of this is that washing this utensil before using it again does not rid the filled liquid of aluminium which gets charged with aluminium ions without heating. It has been found that to get rid of this capability of the utensil one has to wash it 4 to 5 times with fresh water.

It has also been found that as the period of boiling of the liquid increases from 2 to 5 minutes and beyond, the charge increases to twice its initial strength after 10 minutes of boiling.

It has also been found that even processed foods that have been packed and sold in aluminium containers get contaminated by aluminium leaching out into these foodstuffs. Just think of how much aluminium will leach out into these foods when hot foods that are packed in the aluminium foils and bags remain wrapped in it for hours before being consumed.

This potency of aluminium that is formed in water or foods compares well to the potentization principle on which the science of
homoeopathy is based and the symptoms of aluminium toxicity are treated by the very salt of aluminium, in homoeopathy.

It is also pertinent to add that here that greaseproof paper is very often contaminated with aluminium. as aluminium is used in its manufacture.

Foods that are highly basic or highly acidic tend to leach aluminium into these foods being cooked in aluminium vessels.

Tip No 2

As highly acidic or highly basic foods tend to leach out aluminium from aluminium cookware, do not cook such foods in aluminium cookware.

Another study on Aluminium leaching

Another study was done on the effects of aluminium leaching from aluminium utensils into different solutions like water, different concentrations of meat extract with tomato juice, citric acid and table salt.

The results indicate that in all of the above cooking solutions the leaching of aluminium was pretty high. These levels were of the values that the World Health Organization (WHO) considers unacceptable and a high risk to consumers. Read the full research paper at the link given below in the references.

The study shows the harmful effects of aluminium cookware on health.

Health Effects Of Aluminium Ingestion

  • Ingestion of aluminium causes it to accumulate in various organ tissues like kidneys, brain, lungs, liver and thyroid. Since aluminium competes with calcium for absorption it causes weakness of the bones as well as retarding growth in children.
  • Aluminium also reduces the absorption of phosphorus, zinc and selenium. Some toxic effects of aluminium ingestion are :
  • Issues with the digestive system like ulcers, heartburn, dyspepsia, flatulence, constipation etc.
  • Parkinson's disease and other nerve-related disorders.
  • Skin problems
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Brain related issues like headaches, migraines, mental retardation etc.

These damaging effects of aluminium cookware on health can be prevented by using non-aluminium cookware.

Rajiv dixit's suggestion (don't use Aluminum pots for cooking food specially pressure cooker) !!

Aluminium And Alzheimer's Disease

It has been found that the brains of those suffering from Alzheimer's contain more aluminium than those who do not suffer from this disease.

Though there are controversial reports about whether aluminium causes Alzheimer's or not, it is definitely possible that extra aluminium if ingested may aggravate this condition by depositing more aluminium in the brain of such patients.

The manufacturers of aluminium cookware do indicate that strongly acidic or salty foods should not be stored in aluminium cookware or containers. For the same reason, aluminium foil, too, has to be avoided. As has been found, highly acidic or salty foods cause leaching of aluminium into foods wrapped or stored in them.

Some Healthy Substitutes For Aluminium Cookware

Here is a list of some excellent non-aluminium cookware which one can use to stay safe from the harmful effects of aluminium cookware on health.

1. Stainless Steel Cookware
These are the best, easy to clean and last a lifetime and when available with bonded exterior copper base are efficient cooking utensils. The only drawback is the higher cost.

2. Enamelled Saucepans And Kettles
They are available in various colours and are attractive to look at. The enamel does not chip easily if used carefully and utensils with a thicker base can be used on electric cookers. Very safe to use for cooking.

3. Pyrexware
These are excellent in every way. Just need careful handling.

4. Cast Iron Cookware
These are safe and durable as well, even though some iron may seep into the food while cooking but iron has been known to increase the red blood cells and hence it would impart a health benefit. Moreover, iron is considered a healthy food additive by the U.S.Food and Drug Administration.

5. Copper Cookware
Copper cookware is normally lined with tin or stainless steel since copper can leach into food when heated. It heats up fast and distributes heat evenly.

6. Teflon Coated Cookware
The manufacturers say that none of the production process linked chemicals is in the Teflon coating while the U.S.Protection Agency says that ingestion of small particles of Teflon along with food is not known to cause any health issues. If these utensils are taken care of they can be safely used for a long time.

A Word About Anodized Cookware

While most good aluminium cookware today is anodized, making the aluminium surface not only resistant to abrasion and corrosion to prevent aluminium leaching into the cooked food but also making it the most durable cookware with a surface that is extremely heat resistant to normal cooking temperatures.

Though the amount of leaching of aluminium from such cookware is very small it has to be borne in mind that the issue of cumulative effect is an issue to contend with especially if one is suffering from diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or suffering from kidney ailments or other diseases wherein intake of extra aluminium can have a detrimental effect.

Though the anodized coating is hard and scratch-resistant, it should be ensured that the coating is kept intact by not using hard abrasive cleaners like steel wool which may scratch the anodized surface causing the safety coating to come off and thereby cause leaching of aluminium into the food.

Also, though anodized aluminium is regarded as safe it is still not advisable to store acidic foods in such containers to prevent corroding the cookware causing the aluminium to leach out into food. This is one way to prevent the damaging effects of aluminium cookware on health.

Anodized aluminium cookware being non-magnetic cannot be used on induction cooktops as heat in such cook tops is generated by the magnetic induction coil which heats the food by the transfer of magnetic energy to the magnetic cookware.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

References

Research study on aluminium leaching - Read the full report here

Health risks of cooking in aluminium - Avoid cooking acidic foods or storing them in aluminium containers.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/475155-health-risks-of-cooking-in-aluminum/

Dangers of Aluminum & How to Make Your Own Baking Powder

Aluminum and Alzheimer's

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Matt on February 11, 2016:

you lost me right at the point where you said the "science of homoeopathy"

Ramesh Babu on September 28, 2015:

Article on aluminium is very good

thank you

Ammar Husain on July 23, 2015:

Salaam Rajan Bhai,

Could you please suggest alternatives in juicer category like you did for pots and pans? The other day in market I could find plastic and aluminum only.

Salaam Rajan Bhai

harpalsingh26 on June 26, 2014:

thank you very much sir for the article, as we had been consuming food or water without proper knowledge before, is there any remedy or an antidote to whatever aluminium we have already taken inside, any biochemic or ayurvedic or herbal remedy,thanks

Pamela N Red from Oklahoma on November 08, 2013:

I use steel or iron cookware. I didn't realize there was aluminum in so many foods we consume. Something to watch for.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 05, 2013:

Marlene, aluminium is used in so many of the things we commonly use in everyday living that we need to pause and think if we wish to avoid aluminium going into our system. Since the effects build up over a period of time the connection with aluminium is not easy to make.

Thanks for reading and I'm glad this hub could raise the awareness of the many forms we could be ingesting aluminium in.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on August 05, 2013:

This is excellent information on a topic I had not given much thought to in the past. Thanks for providing such helpful information. I am so much more aware of aluminum and the effects on the body now. Gosh, you never know where you'll find aluminum. I will definitely read the labels on my cosmetics from now on. That's for sure.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 05, 2013:

@BROTATI-thanks for appreciating.

@Carl-thanks for the visit and compliments.

Carl Junior on July 05, 2013:

Wonderful pieces of information on aluminum. If I can remember correctly, I read somewhere on the effects of aluminum on our bodies but it wasn't as clear as you have put it here today. Thank you for sharing this great hub.

BROTATI from Kolkata on July 03, 2013:

Thanks for a lot of important information so very relevant in our daily life. I will have to give serious thought now on what pots and pans to use for cooking.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 02, 2013:

Thanks.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 02, 2013:

Thanks.

torrilynn on July 02, 2013:

You are more than welcome

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 01, 2013:

Aurelio, you are using a safe cookware so no worry on this count. Thanks for the visit and votes.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on July 01, 2013:

I did not know these things about aluminum. Fortunately, our cookware is cast iron, which avoids many of the issues. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 01, 2013:

@Carol-thanks for the read and shared.

@Brett-the manufacturers should be held responsible for producing a product that has no warning of the bad health effects attached to it. That would be wonderful.

I appreciate your visit and all the sharing.

Brett C from Asia on June 30, 2013:

Another very interesting hub, slightly off your normal line, but still fits in nicely. Maybe 'negative' health effects of things could be another branch for you?

Anyway, it is quite concerning that this has so many bad effects on health and yet is used in so many things for storage and cooking! Maybe the manufactures should be held responsible for not attaching health warnings!?

Shared, pinned, tweeted, up and useful.

carol stanley from Arizona on June 30, 2013:

I was almost reluctant to reading this..as I had heard that aluminum was not a healthy substance. Fortunately I rarely use cans and most of my cooking is stainless steel..Great hub and as always you cover your topic..All the usual shares..

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 30, 2013:

Hi Jo,

It would be a privilege to have my hub linked to yours on the same topic and I'll love to read it when I see it posted.

Thanks.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on June 30, 2013:

Hi Rajan, you've pipped me to the post!... just about to post my article on Aluminium and Alzheimer's when I found this excellent hub. If you have no objections I would like to link to yours.

Great Information as always.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 29, 2013:

@Jaye-stainless steel cookware is the best and cooking in iron cookware benefits the health. Glass containers for storing foods are the best. These were the containers used before the current day containers came in.

Appreciate your reading and sharing the hub. Thanks.

@peachpurple-thanks and good to know you agree that aluminium is harmful to health. Thanks for the read.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on June 28, 2013:

Rajan my friend, this hub is very useful for all home chefs! Stainless steel pots and pans are indeed important and healthy for our daily cooking purpose. Great hub with lots of infor. Voted up

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on June 28, 2013:

This is a very informative hub, Rajan, about an important topic. I only wish the dangers of aluminum had been known long ago, as I used it for decades without knowledge of the harm it can cause to health.

I now use only stainless steel and cast iron for cooking, and store foods in glass containers with glass lids.

Voted Up++ and shared

Jaye

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 28, 2013:

@Barbara-thank you for stopping by and appreciating.

@starbright-thanks for reading and sharing.

@Indian Chef-thanks for the visit, votes and sharing.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 28, 2013:

You are right Harsha even aluminium foil is risky when hot foods are packed in it. Thanks for reading.

Harsha Vardhana R from Bangalore on June 28, 2013:

Thank you, Rajan! Though aluminium is not seen much these days, I see it in packaging of food like Rotis to remain hot. I believe that too can have some risks

Indian Chef from New Delhi India on June 28, 2013:

Rajan, again a very well researched and full of knowledge hub. Voting it up, awesome,, interesting and useful and sharing on hubpages.

Lucy Jones from Scandinavia on June 28, 2013:

Thanks for sharing this important info. I had no idea. Voted and shared.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 28, 2013:

You are welcome, Tonette! And thank you for sparing time to read and comment. Have a good day!

go-barbara-go on June 28, 2013:

Oh my, my heart's beating fast. We have an aluminum ware we used for boiling water whenever we're in town for vacation, and I wasn't expecting its not good for our health.

Thanks for this...it shouldn't be used anymore from now on.

Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on June 28, 2013:

Thank you Rajan. Thankfully, I have pyrex at home. I'm bookmarking this hub, very helpful. All the best my friend. :=)-Tonette

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 28, 2013:

@Rasma-Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you like the info.

@jennifer-thanks for reading.

@Tonette-the best would be pyrex followed by stainless steel though

I 'm not aware that aluminium is a part of the stainless steel composition. Cast iron and enamel coated cookware would be fine too.

@Torrilyn-thanks for stopping by and I appreciate the sharing.

torrilynn on June 28, 2013:

@rajan jolly i never knew that aluminum could be so dangerous and that it could cause kifney problems and brain disease. Useful information indeed. Voted up and sharing with others!!

Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on June 28, 2013:

Hi Rajan, you have explained all areas of aluminum cookware, well. Thank you. Perhaps the best way to escape aluminum leeches into our food is to stick to traditional cast iron or enamel coated surfaces. I think most stainless cookware contain aluminum?

Jennifer west on June 28, 2013:

I have read numerous articles on aluminum and I personally try to minimize my exposure, Thank you for your opinion:-) Thank you for your research into this subject.

Jennifer west on June 28, 2013:

I have read numerous articles on aluminum and I personally try to minimize my exposure, Thank you for your opinion:-) Thank you for your research into this subject.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on June 27, 2013:

Thanks for this very interesting and informative hub. I had heard about aluminum being bad but at least now I have more knowledge. Passing this on.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 27, 2013:

@Nithya-thanks.

@ologsinquito-glad you are not using aluminium cookware.

@moonlake-I think our parents and the earlier generations were more aware of what was good for us. Thanks for the votes and sharing.

@Mary-thanks fro reading and sharing.

Regarding Amazon products when in edit mode of the amazon capsule click on choose specific products you will have the option of including up to 10 products. You can manually add any products by visiting Amazon.

@Que Scout-you certainly have an amazing capability to taste aluminium! Glad you aren't using utensils made from this metal.

@truthfornow-thanks for stopping by.

@CrisSp-thank you.

@Jennifer-alum can be hazardous if ingested, inhaled or if it comes in contact with eyes or skin. You can read more at http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/most-contr...

@Karthik-you're welcome. Thanks.

@Careermommy-thanks and I appreciate your stopping by.

Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on June 27, 2013:

rajan jolly, this hub is very informative. I knew there were points about aluminum that were health concerns to me, but your article really dug deep into the facts. This is great insight.

Karthik Kashyap from India on June 27, 2013:

Wow!! Whoever knew that Aluminium can actually cause health problems in this way? Thanks a lot for sharing Rajan.

jennifer west on June 27, 2013:

Interesting article. I am not aware of anyone I know using aluminum cookware anymore. I don't even see it for sale in my area in the mainstream stores. We threw out our aluminum pots about 20 years ago. We use primarily class or stainless steel. I have one cast iron skillet but they are hard to come by at a decent price. You have an article on Alum that I read recently. Do the Aluminum precaution in this article apply to Alum since it contains aluminum? I remember making alum in one of my chemistry labs at college and my professor was mentioning the negative attributes of aluminum on the body. How do you feel about the aluminum content in Alum? Very thorough article. Enjoyed the read!

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 27, 2013:

Wow! Great info in here. Thanks for sharing this very useful and informative hub. Will share...

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on June 27, 2013:

Very informative hub. We have to all be careful about what we cook our food in and the effects.

Stephen Hodgkinson from Sydney Australia on June 27, 2013:

Interesting read Rajan

I hate food cooked or stored in Aluminium. I am one of those lucky/or not people who can taste and smell stuff like a dog, so if the food was in Aluminium I can taste it. And it tastes like poison.

I think the the aluminium fad in the kitchen is over, but the products will live on for years. Thanks for pointing out the dangers.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on June 27, 2013:

Well researched Hub. When I was growing up, aluminum was the ONLY kind of pan we used. I never remember anyone suffering from

Alzheimers back them. Maybe people had it, but no one knew what to call it back then.

BTW: how did you manage to get 8 Amazon products on here???

Voted UP and shared.

moonlake from America on June 27, 2013:

My mother never let us leave food in aluminium pots. For many years other than cast iron that was all that could be bought. I knew long ago it could be dangerous to our health just from what she said. Great hub voted up and shared.

ologsinquito from USA on June 27, 2013:

Great article. I've been really happy with my Cuisinart pans.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 27, 2013:

Interesting and important information about aluminium leaching. Great hub, useful and informative. Voted up.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 27, 2013:

@Devika-thanks fro visiting.

@Nell-glad you like the info. Thanks.

@Audrey-Appreciate your stopping by.

@Nicola-thanks for reading and giving your votes.

@Rose-you are right. Sometimes we do not ponder deep enough. Thanks for stopping by.

@mr-veg-appreciate your reading and commenting.

@Nancy-thanks for reading and commenting.

Nancy Owens from USA on June 27, 2013:

Hi rajan jolly! Very informative and well done. I wish I had a nice copper bottom pan. Many years ago, the copper bottomed cooking pots and pans were common, and sometimes they can be found at second hand stores. Unless they are in very good condition and are a complete set, they don't hold much collector value, but can be used to cook and bake.

mr-veg from Colorado United States on June 27, 2013:

Great and Useful information Rajan ! That's nicely put together and there are few facts listed in there which I never knew about...!!

rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on June 27, 2013:

Very insightful article as usual. It is amazing how things we use everyday could have adverse affects on our lives. Thanks for sharing. (Voted Up)

-Rose

Nicola Thompson from Bellingham, WA on June 27, 2013:

very important for people to know! Well done helping to spread the word about another of the daily toxins we come in contact with. Well written! voted up and interesting/useful! :)

Audrey Howitt from California on June 27, 2013:

What a great article Rajan!

Nell Rose from England on June 27, 2013:

Hi rajan, I remember reading a few years ago about Aluminium cooking pots and other things that we use for eating. But I couldn't remember what exactly was the problem, so this was fascinating, thanks, voted up and shared, nell

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 27, 2013:

So interesting I found this hub to be a useful, informative and a vote up. A well accomplished hub The Effects Of Aluminium And Aluminium Cookware On Health.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 27, 2013:

Thanks, Bill. It is different but in the health niche. So that's not much different. Appreciate your visit and you have a great weekend as well.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 27, 2013:

Great information, Rajan! A bit different for you but informational nonetheless. Well done and I hope you have a great weekend.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 27, 2013:

@zubair-when aluminium cookware becomes pockmarked or pitted it becomes very dangerous as aluminium starts leaching into the food. So it is better to use stainless steel or other utensils as mentioned. Thanks for reading.

@sid-thanks for reading and sharing.

@agapsikap-thanks for stopping by.

Zubair Ahmed on June 27, 2013:

Hi Rajan,

As always a good hub and a topic which I never thought about, very useful info, I guess i'll have to change my tea-pot now to a stainless steel to avoid contamination when I boil my spicy chai.

thank you

agapsikap from Philippines on June 27, 2013:

Interesting and very useful!

sid76 on June 27, 2013:

Very informative and usable hub. Voted up and share !

Zubair Ahmed on June 27, 2013:

Hi Rajan,

Another very good hub on a topic I knew nothing about until reading this hub, I thought cookware was safe. Now I know better.

So my much loved spicy chai boiled for 5 minutes in the aluminium kettle - which I thought was good for me -is no longer that healthy ????

I'll have to find an alternative.