Hello again Cynthia Diane,
As with most things controversial, there were plenty of picks and
pans on the safety of aluminum. (Pun intended). I attempted to stick
with reliable sites in researching your answer, to provide the most
accurate information possible. I was able to find more information,
from reliable sites, that believe aluminum cookware is safe, or has
minimal risks. As you?ll see farther down in the answer, the WHO
states humans can consume, safely, up to 50mg aluminum a day, with an
estimated 2 mg per day coming from aluminum cookware.
While light in weight, aluminum, along with lead, mercury, silver,
copper, zinc, tin, among others, is known chemically as a heavy
?Symptoms of heavy metal toxicity include mental confusion, pain in
muscles and joints, headaches, short-term memory loss,
gastrointestinal upsets, food intolerances/allergies, vision problems,
chronic fatigue, and others. The symptoms are so vague that it is
difficult to diagnose based on symptoms alone.?
A ?normal? value for blood aluminum is 0-40 ug, with anything over
100ug considered aluminum toxicity, according to the State of Michigan
Department of Health. We?re also exposed to aluminum through items
such as antacids, anti-persperants, cosmetics, drinking water, and
processed foods like cheese food sliced singles.
?Potential Health Effects:
Central Nervous System ?
Not proven as causative agent for Alzheimer?s disease
Encephalopathy (stuttering, gait disturbance, myoclonic jerks, seizures,
Osteomalacia (painful spontaneous fractures, hypercalcemia, tumorous
Pulmonary effects (cough, wheeze, etc.)?
There?s also a chart depicting the aluminum content of certain foods
and beverages, found on page 4. (Be prepared to turn your hard
sideways, or print out page 4, for easier reading!) Baking powder
(expected) and cornbread (unexpected) have very high levels of
aluminum per gram of food.
?According to the World Health Organization, adults can safely
consume more than 50 milligrams of aluminum per day without detriment
to their health. Canadians ingest approximately 10 milligrams of
aluminum per day with approximately 2 milligrams derived from pots and
pans. High levels of aluminum have been associated with the
development of Alzheimer?s disease, but the findings are
When cooking with aluminum pots, the more pitted and worn out the pot,
the greater amount of aluminum will be absorbed. Acid-forming foods
such as tomatoes, rhubarb, sauerkraut and citrus products absorb the
?Aluminum: Early studies indicated that Alzheimer?s patients have
unusually high levels of aluminum in the brain, proposing a possible
connection between the elevated aluminum and the disease. However,
current studies have shown that the increased aluminum levels in these
patients were attributed to a preservative that was added to the
Although up to 52 percent of all cookware is made with aluminum,
research has shown that the amount of aluminum leached into food is
insignificant especially when compared to everyday sources of
aluminum. (Even so, I still like my aluminum ware clad in stainless
From the Utah State University Extension Service
?Can you get too much aluminum?
In experimental animals fed large doses of aluminum, no toxic effects were shown.
There is very little aluminum absorbed from the intestine no matter
the amount consumed. No
toxic symptoms have been shown in humans.
Is aluminum linked to Alzheimer's disease?
In recent years, Alzheimer?s disease has been studies but no cause has
One study reported larger than average amounts of aluminum in the
brain tissue of some
Alzheimer?s patients. It is not known how the aluminum may get into
the brain. There is no evidence that foods cooked in aluminum pans or
stored in aluminum containers can cause abnormally high levels of
aluminum in the brain or that aluminum intake should be
?Aluminum (European spelling Aluminium) is harmful to all life forms.
It damages all types of tissue. "Aluminum is a protoplasmic poison
and a pernicious and persistent neurotoxin". No living systems use
aluminium as part of a biochemical process. It has a tendency to
accumulate in the brain and bones. It is considerably less toxic than
mercury, arsenic, lead or cadmium, but it is much more common in our
environment, it also appears to be more persistent than most of the
others. The danger is one that only manifests itself over long periods
of time. It is therefore prudent to avoid consumption. Avoidance is
currently the best way of protecting you and your family from the
serious, long term damage that can result from ingestion. Pregnant and
lactating women, the young and the elderly are at risk. The most
effective way of preserving your mental acuity in to your later years
appears to be eliminating the sources of aluminum in the diet.
?Aluminum pots and pans contribute only very small amounts of
aluminum to foods that are cooked in them. The amount does increase
when food is acidic (for example, tomatoes, rhubarb).
There is no proof that the use of such utensils plays a significant
role in the development of Alzheimer Disease.
Alzheimer?s Society of Canada
I LOVE this Sierra Club ?Elvis? metaphor: ?In the 1960s, researchers
announced that elevated levels of the element were found in the brains
of Alzheimer's patients. But since then the link between the two has
been repeatedly disproved. "Aluminum is the Elvis Presley of
Alzheimer's," says Dr. David Knopman, an M.D. in the Neurology
Department and Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Mayo Clinic
in Rochester, Minnesota. "For some reason the idea that they are
related just won't die." I'm sure I'm not the only cook who is
delighted to bury that connection for good.?
This site recommends not using aluminum cookware for apples as it
lowers the vitamin content.
?Rhubarb, apple and all acid fruits leach aluminium from the pan so
are best cooked in enamel pans or glass casseroles in the oven.?
Preventing Aluminum Exposure
1.Eat a diet that is high in fiber and includes apple pectin.
2. Use stainless steel, glass, or iron cookware. Stainless steel is
the best choice.
3. Beware of any product containing aluminum or dihydroxyaluminum.
4. A hair analysis can be used to determine levels of aluminum in the body.
5. Research has shown that the longer you cook food in aluminum pots,
the more they corrode, and the more aluminum is absorbed into the food
and hence into the body. Aluminum is more readily dissolved by acid
forming foods, such as coffee, cheese, meat, black and green tea,
cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, turnips, spinach and radishes.
6. Acid rain leeches aluminum out of the soil and into drinking water.
About Aluminum Toxicity
?Aluminum cookware is already banned in parts of Europe. Now, even the
ultra-conservative U.S. Food & Drug Administration has banned aluminum
coming in contact with commercial dairy products. John Jones, PhD,
My own completely unsubstantiated opinion is you are at very little
to no risk of excess aluminum exposure from eating a Trader Joe apple
pie, particularly if you avoid aluminum cookware when you prepare
meals at home. The crust will prevent the apples from absorbing
aluminum too! Although I think, given the opportunity, I could eat an
entire apple pie myself, you are probably consuming a portion or two
I do like to avoid using aluminum cookware until there is more
evidence it is completely safe, but is reality, most pies of the
purchased variety, and many home-made pies as well, ARE baked in
aluminum pie pans.
Thank you for directing this interesting question to me! Please
request an Answer Clarification if I have not completely answered your
question, and I will respond as quickly as possible!
Aluminum cookware dangers
Apples + aluminum absorption
Aluminum absorption + cookware