MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Is it safe to cook in cast Aluminum pots?

Date: Fri Nov 10 16:53:24 2000
Posted By: Elizabeth Kunkel, Faculty, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Clemson University
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 973269517.Ch

The short answer to your question is that,yes, it is safe to cook in cast 
aluminum pots.  The controversy started with a report in 1970 that brains 
of people with Alzheimer's disease contained abnormally high levels of 
aluminum.  What is not known is whether the increase is part of the cause 
of the disease or a result (Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, 
1996, 48 (6):615-635).  It has long been known that aluminum from cookware 
can leach into foods. (Indeed components of all types of cookware can leach 
into foods).  This effect is most pronounced with acidic foods.  According 
to FDA, a person using aluminum pans for all cooking and food storage every 
day would take in an estimated 3.5 milligrams of aluminum, well below the 7 
mg/kg body weight intake established by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee 
on Food Additives.  FDA has concluded that "the agency has no information 
at this time that the normal dietary intake of aluminum, whether from 
naturally ocurring levels in food, the use of aluminum cookware, or from 
aluminum food additives or drugs, is harmful." (FDA Consumer, October, 
1990)  However, FDA and USDA both recommend that food, particularly acidic 
and salty foods, not be stored in cookware (aluminum or otherwise) for 
extended periods of time.

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