Aluminum is a great conductor of heat, and this is probably why manufacturers started making cookware from this reactive metal in the first place. They hardly considered the interaction of aluminum with acids, bases, halogens, and water in the presence of oxygen (learn more here). In fact, this is exactly what happens when you cook in cookware containing aluminum – it reacts to food and forms toxic compounds. Keep reading to learn more about its dangers and different cookware that claim to control aluminum interaction yet pose these dangers anyway. Then discover what cookware eliminates aluminum entirely and all its related risks.
Different cookware that leach aluminum
This is the most obvious culprit as it is made from aluminum. It leaches and contaminates food while cooking as the cooking heat becomes a catalyst. Eating such food regularly accumulates aluminium in blood and organs (referred to as aluminum toxicity). It may eventually lead to kidney failure and a compromised immune system, among other serious health problems related to the nervous system.
Anodized Aluminum Cookware:
This reactive soft metal oxidizes quickly and forms a layer that prevents further oxidation, making it anodized aluminum cookware. Any scratches formed on the cookware during use keep scrapping off this layer. Some manufacturers do electro-chemical treatment of the cookware to make this layer thicker and call it hard anodized aluminum cookware. Although they claim it doesn’t scrape off and protects food from reacting to soft aluminum core, it does little to prevent leaching of aluminum when heated.
Aluminum cookware with coating:
The ceramic or Teflon/PTFE coating may prevent food from sticking but leach dangerous toxins. Some come coated with other metals or alloys like stainless steel (contains iron, nickel, chromium, molybdenum, carbon etc.), titanium (another soft metal) that are reactive to food. This reactivity causes some of the metal ions to bond with the nutrients in food and then it is absorbed into the body and can cause organ damage and negatively impact bodily functions. With any of the coatings, there is no guarantee that these prevent aluminum from leaching.
Cookware made from aluminum alloys:
What is the alternative to reactive aluminum? Just use an aluminum alloy. But this is no consolation because these contain other reactive metals besides aluminum, like nickel, copper, silicon, magnesium, and zinc. They leach their own toxins that can further contaminate your food.
The dangers of aluminum cookware
Since 1980, aluminum is a known neurotoxin. It accumulates in brain, bones and liver and can cause various disorders like dialysis encephalopathy and bone disorder. Some studies have also associated aluminum with Alzheimer’s disease. Other ill effects pertain to the central nervous system.
The old Provisional Tolerance Weekly Intake (PTWI) of aluminum from WHO/FDA in 1989 was 7 mg/Kg body weight. In 2007, the PTWI was changed to 1 mg/Kg body weight which reflected its neurotoxic potential.
Besides leaching from cookware, aluminum is already entering the human body from other sources. These include water, food, beverages, medicines, and food additives. Some studies have shown that the extent of aluminum leaching is strongly related to several factors such as pH, cooking medium and composition of food. These regard aluminum cookware as hazardous.
There are some who defend aluminum cookware with arguments based on “safe levels” of aluminum that the kidneys can easily filter out. But is it wise to let a known toxin enter our body even in small quantities when we are aware of its potential health hazards? Obviously not! Avoiding this risk is the prudent thing to do. Keep reading so you will know how.
How does MEC eliminate these dangers?
Miriams Earthen Cookware (MEC) – a US based company uses lab tested primary clay to handcraft cookware. This all-natural material is free from metal and chemical toxins and has zero aluminum. The makers do not use any additives or glazes which keep the pots free from metals and other toxins. As a result, MEC pots and pans turn out 100% non-toxic and full of healthy features that make healthy cooking much more convenient.