Is Aluminum Cookware Safe to Cook With?May 23, 2023
Your kitchen probably contains several types of cookware, which is cookware that’s made of different types of materials. Cookware, for example, is often made with a nonstick coating, like teflon, and various types of metals, like aluminum and stainless steel. Aluminum cookware is often considered comparable to stainless steel cookware because they are each made of metal and may be indistinguishable to most people’s eyes. However, their differences are important.
Since I often get asked about aluminum cookware because of reports linking aluminum to Alzheimer’s Disease, this article will address the question, “Is aluminum cookware safe to cook with?”
Let’s break this down. This article will explain whether aluminum cookware is safe for your health, types of aluminum cookware, and practical tips to detox your aluminum exposure from aluminum cookware. To start, let’s dive into the health concerns over aluminum cookware.
Aluminum Cookware Dangers
Aluminum is a popular material in cookware because it conducts heat well, and is lightweight, relatively inexpensive, and versatile. Therefore, it is used to create different types of aluminum cookware. You’ll find aluminum pans, pots, and bakeware in many stores and kitchens. In recent decades, however, people have become concerned about the dangers of cooking with aluminum cookware. Why? What are the health risks? Neurotoxicity. Aluminum is a widely known neurotoxin.
After researchers discovered aluminum’s neurotoxicity in experimental animals in 1965, scientists began investigating whether aluminum might contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurotoxic effects. While the evidence remains inconclusive, the Alzheimer’s Disease risk from aluminum cookware are reportedly low. For example, a website by the Canadian government reports that of the 10 milligrams of aluminum that Canadians are estimated to ingest daily, only about 1-2 milligrams are estimated to come from aluminum pans and pots. It also reports that, “While aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer's disease, there is no definite link proven. The World Health Organization estimates that adults can consume more than 50 milligrams of aluminum daily without harm.”
Can Aluminum Leach From Aluminum Cookware?
Aluminum has been shown to leach from aluminum cookware into foods under certain circumstances like under high temperatures. This is especially important for you to know if you use aluminum cookware everyday. When you cook in aluminum, you should be aware of how aluminum can contaminate your diet.
Under high temperatures, aluminum cookware is more likely to leach aluminum from aluminum cookware. This is exacerbated when cooking highly acidic foods or alkaline foods, like tomatoes or citrus fruits.
How much aluminum is released from aluminum cookware?
The amount of aluminum contamination in your food is considered trace amounts. And, in most healthy people, aluminum can be detoxified by the body. However, how much and how efficiently we detox aluminum depends on various factors including genetics so it’s best to avoid unnecessary aluminum exposure.
Is Anodized Aluminum Cookware Safer?
Designed to minimize aluminum leaching from aluminum cookware and to create other benefits, anodized aluminum cookware is coated and sealed from a process called anodization. In anodization, as aluminum is placed in an acid solution and exposed to an electric current, a layer of aluminum oxide is formed over the aluminum. This aluminum oxide layer is typically harder than the aluminum. Thus creating a protectice and nonstick coating.
Anodization makes aluminum cookware safer by reducing its likelihood of corrosion, scratches, reactivity with food, stickiness, and leaching aluminum. Anodized aluminum cookware also conducts heat well, is durable, and easy to clean.
Just remember that the aluminum oxide (protective layer) can wear over time so follow the manufacturer's directions. Also, there isn’t much information on whether the anodized oxide layer is nontoxic.
Is Aluminum Club Cookware A Good Option?
In aluminum club cookware, the aluminum is layered. This layering of the metal makes it heavier duty, durable, and is often compared to other heavy-duty pots and pans.
There isn’t as much information on the safety of aluminum club cookware, which will depend on what materials are used to layer the aluminum. If aluminum club cookware is something you’re interested in, learn about the ingredients , processes for creating the layers; and research how they may react under cooking conditions and the likelihood of layer ingredients and aluminum leaching into your food.
Cooking With Aluminum Foil
While pots and pans are a common type of aluminum cookware, aluminum foil is perhaps the most popular kitchen use of aluminum because it’s so versatile. It can be shaped and folded easily, is durable, and offers high heat-resistance.
Aluminum foil can also leach aluminum into the foods that it wraps so be mindful.
Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Cookware
When comparing aluminum to stainless steel cookware, they are both relatively light weight, inexpensive, and conduct heat well (aluminum is considered superior—conducting heat more efficiently and distributing heat more evenly). Each are good choices for high temperatures and each cookware is safe if following the considerations in this article.
Since stainless steel cookware has experienced less controversy, stainless steel pots and pans are staples among my nontoxic cookware.
Cooking With Aluminum Cookware And Other Tips
So, is aluminum cookware safe? It can be.
If you cook in aluminum, then the tips below can help reduce your aluminum exposure.
- Anodized aluminum cookware can offer more benefits (including less aluminum contamination in your diet) than uncoated aluminum cookware.
- Research the ingredients used to create the protective layer and under which circumstances they may contaminate your diet.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions to maintain the protective layer of anodized aluminum cookware.
- Avoid metal utensils and abrasive cleaning to minimize scratching of the anodized aluminum cookware surface.
- Discard worn and damaged aluminum pans and pots since aluminum will be more likely to leach into what you’re cooking during cooking.
- Minimize the time your food touches aluminum since the amount of aluminum that leaches into your food can increase with time.
- Be aware that leafy vegetables and acidic foods, like tomatoes and citrus, absorb the most aluminum.
- Safer alternatives to aluminum foil include uncoated wax, parchment paper, and glass containers.
In summary, there are different types of aluminum cookware. They include uncoated aluminum cookware, anodized aluminum cookware, aluminum club cookware, and aluminum foil. Anodized aluminum cookware can be your safest type of aluminum cookware depending on what the coating is made of.
If you’re mindful, it can be safe to cook with aluminum.
Order Yours Today
Check out the types of cookware available at Ruan Living’s Amazon store. Currently, there is not an aluminum option but you can see what I chose for my family, and order something that makes sense for you and your lifestyle. There is safe aluminum cookware available to you, so you can cook with mindful confidence.
Related Articles For You
The articles below can help you learn more about other types of cookware.
Deconstruct To Reconstruct.
Deconstruct your habits, mindset, and assumptions to reconstruct your home, diet, self-care, and technology relationship for a practical nontoxic and healing lifestyle. We're bringing consciousness to unconscious choices.
Start by detoxing your cleaning.
Join our mailing list and enjoy our free download of our beautiful Nontoxic Cleaning Guide. It shares the safest cleaning approach for you and our ecosystems.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.