Posted on Jan 22, 2019, 3 p.m.
You may be putting you and yours in harms way if you use aluminum foil in the kitchen, as aluminum has been scrutinized for years in the scientific community for its potential role as a neurotoxin.
Aluminum does not have a physiological role within the human body which gives it the potential to cause significant detrimental effects, especially if consumed. A 2014 study unequivocally proved this theory showing that a man who died with Alzheimer’s disease had significantly elevated levels of aluminum content in his brain following 8 years of occupational exposure. The respiratory system was noted to be exposed to aluminum dust, but aluminum is a known neurotoxin.
Aluminum foil is reactive and not fully inert, food cooked or prepared in aluminum foil has been shown to have higher levels of aluminum than if another medium was used. Long term oral aluminum intake could be argued would equate to using aluminum foil regularly for years; meaning using aluminum foil in the kitchen could contribute to associated effects and risks.
Aluminum from sources such as foil has been shown to increase risk for developing bone disease in a study examining the effects of hemodialysis which causes buildup of aluminum in the blood: 37% of the dialysis patients were found to have developed aluminum associated bone disease. Researchers concluded long term oral aluminum intake in hemodialysis patients results in high prevalence of aluminum associated bone disease; and theorized aluminum either directly or indirectly impacts osteoblast production which leads to bone wasting.
Use of it to prepare, cook, or store foods can increase risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis, which was shown in a study performing lung tissue analysis of workers exposed to aluminum oxide finding extremely high levels of aluminum in lung tissue; suggesting that exposure contributed to development of pulmonary fibrosis.
Aluminum foil may not contribute to lung disease as the same rate of breathing in aluminum oxides, but that does not change the fact it does still contain the very real risk of cooking with aluminum foil to possibly cause pulmonary fibrosis and other diseases of the lung.
Engineers from the University of Ain Shams examined the different ways in which aluminum foil and other cookwares interact with foods: Results showed leaching of harmful aluminum compounds was highest when acidic foods such as lemon juice or tomatoes can into contact with the aluminum foil exceeding guidelines outlined by W.H.O, which was often further exacerbated with spices. Professor Ghada Bassioni concluded that cooking with aluminum foil allows the metal to enter the body, and it is not suitable for cooking especially with acidic foods.
Take away is that aluminum foil is not fully inert, the dangers occur most when it is heated to high temperatures, and when exposed to certain foods it has been shown to leach a portion of its metallic compounds into food where it is then ingested; after being ingested it can build up in the blood, muscles, and organs to contribute to all manners of health problems that science is starting to understand how negative these consequences may be.
Keeping aluminum foil out of the kitchen and away from foods that will be ingested may be the safest bet. There are alternatives to preparing, storing, and cooking foods that won’t have any of these possible ill effects such as glass containers. Glass is said to be completely inert and will not transfer any harmful chemical or metals into food, regardless of how acidic they are. Once more glass can be used over and over again saving money; and glass can be used for storage, preparation, and cooking saving even more money.
Cooking food items that would normally use foil such as fish or baked potatoes can substitute the foil for using a glass dish with a lid, which will have the same effects and will not leach its compounds into the food. High quality glass bakeware is a nicer material to use that will not create waste. Glass cookware also typically will produce a higher quality dish, which is just a no brainer win win. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure the glass cookware has been rated for your intended use.
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