Aluminium is widely used in making cookware because it is light weight, cooks evenly and is cheap. But Aluminium leaching from the cookware and aluminium toxicity has become a popular topic of discussion. That’s why we decided to look it up for our readers too. Our intention is to give our readers a perspective of why some popular believes about aluminium cookware emerged and how true they are.
Is aluminium a neurotoxin?
Yes, aluminium is a proven neurotoxin. It is said to degenerate neurons in the brain and has been linked to several diseases too. Exposure to large amounts of aluminium has been seen to cause disorientation, loss of memory and in advanced stages may also lead to dementia. (Dementia is a term used for conditions characterized by a decline in memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking skills that affect a person's ability to perform everyday activities).
Does aluminium leach from cookware?
The answer is yes. Especially if the food is acidic in nature. According to a boiling test done in 1992 aluminium leached when fruit juices were boiled in aluminium pans. Aluminium leached from pans even when boiling water or milk. Most leaching was seen in rhubarbs while no leaching was seen while making porridge. Research is an ongoing process. In most food items the leaching is very minimal and is not enough to cause any serious health concern. In our opinion, a substance which is not harmful ‘enough’ to cause problem is still harmful to start with. There have been people who have smoked all their lives and never seen a doctor. But that does not make smoking any less harmful…
Aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease
Aluminium contaminated water has been seen to progress Alzheimer’s disease in case of people who already have it. People who inherit Alzheimer’s disease have shown to have a higher level of aluminium in their brains. These facts are indicative of connection between aluminium and Alzheimer’s.
A 1965 study done on animal models showed a link between aluminium and Alzheimer’s for the first time. Hence aluminium has been linked to Alzheimer’s. We need to consider the fact that this study was done at a very high dose of aluminium injected in rabbits. Although we are going to be exposed to very low doses through cookware which might not be enough to develop Alzheimer’s, but why test the poison.
Kidney disease and aluminium
Aluminium is removed from our bodies through urine and feces. In case of dysfunctional kidneys, systems are inefficient in removing aluminium and it tends to deposit in brain and even bones. Aluminium is also seen to be responsible for worsening anemia in patients suffering from renal (kidney) failure. It is called aluminium induced anemia. So, individuals suffering from kidney diseases should stay away from all sources of aluminium.
Aluminium and breast cancer
This is another popular murmur when it comes to hazards of using aluminium. As of now there is no significant data that shows aluminium can cause breast cancer. Anti-perspirants often contain aluminium and it can be absorbed by the skin. Since most breast cancer tumors are observed in the area closer to underarms it was linked to the aluminium content in antiperspirants. It is not certain yet, that aluminium in antiperspirants causes breast cancer.
When aluminum is placed in an acid solution and exposed to an electric current, a layer of aluminum oxide is deposited on the aluminum surface. This process is called anodization. Manufacturers claim that when cooking in anodized aluminium cookware, the food you are cooking isn’t meeting the aluminium directly and thus not leaching. To the best of our knowledge this argument is not backed by any published scientific studies. A Canada Government write up clearly says that anodization reduces the amount of aluminium leaching from cookware. So, the complete sealing away of aluminium is seemingly questionable.
Well, we know for a fact that aluminium does not play any function in our bodies. Other metals like iron or copper are beneficial when taken in small proportions. Aluminium on the other hand is useless and is in fact toxic. So, most of us will want to stay away from it as much as possible.
In order to reduce aluminium intake through cookware using other safer materials like glass, cast iron, stainless steel and clay utensils can be a good option.
Like aluminium, we all know by now that nonstick cookware is also harmful. In our next blog we will tell about how it is harmful and also its solution.