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Cast Aluminum Cookware: is it dangerous?

Intro / synopsis: What is the black smut that sometimes rubs off aluminum cookware? Is it dangerous? Can cookware be used if anodizing has worn off? What causes pitting? Is there a relationship with Alzheimer's? Is aluminum safe or not? A discussion spanning many years, with no censorship, and all sides heard.

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"Aluminum and Health"
by H. J. Gitelman

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Q. I found your site on the web looking for "the dangers of aluminum cookware". I have recently acquired my grandmother's "cast aluminum cookware". Not being a chemist I am not sure if that is the same as anodized. It brings back many fond memories and I like the way it cooks. I would really like to use it. Several members of my family have given warnings about cooking in them causing health problems. I tell them Grams lived to be 86 and they are all she used for 50 years. Is there any real validity to their concerns? I am a nurse and know there was some rumor about Alzheimer's but I thought that had been dispelled. Please help ease our minds. Thanks Barb.

Barbara P [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Rabun Gap, Georgia

A. Hi Barb

"Cast" means formed by pouring molten metal into a mold of that shape as opposed to being machined from a solid block.

"Anodized" means electrochemically treated to form a thick and stable oxidation layer. The two terms are neither mutually exclusive nor mutually inclusive.

Maybe I can "ease your mind" by reminding you that you'll never find balance from the news. "The News" is very big business. If anyone finds even the smallest indication that something as common as aluminum cookware might increase the risk of Alzheimer's, then "TOXIC TIMEBOMB IN YOUR KITCHEN?!" will be on the TV news around the world to try to draw viewership. But as you have found, if that study gets discredited, you'll hear barely a peep of balance from the TV news because "Cookware is safe after all, ho hum" won't tempt anyone to stay up and tune in.

The politicians we elect are in that same position: It is always in their interest to constantly conjure up stuff they will "protect you from" (please google: "H. L. Mencken hobgoblins", where Mencken explains this fact).

Personally, I'm not worried about it, and I'm reasonably confident that if you do a library search through Science News, Scientific American, The Journal of the American Medical Association, etc. that you'll find enough info to assure yourself and your mother. But if you choose the internet or TV instead, you'll find mostly scare stuff.

Luck & regards,

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. I have several pieces of my mother and grandmother's cast aluminum which are my favorite cookware of all time. She & my grandmother lived to almost 90 with no signs of any kind of dementia.

Dorothy Callahan
- Baldwin, Maryland

Q. My Mom always used S.O.S. pads to clean her cast aluminum service.

I still wonder if it is safe to cook in cast aluminum.

Grace Barkwell
- Ontario, Canada

A. Regarding the "Is aluminum safe to cook with …" question. Over 20 years ago, I heard the professor speak who had been quoted as the source of the connection between aluminum in the brain and Alzheimer's diseases. His research had found an excess of aluminum in the brain of such patients. He did not believe that cooking in aluminum had any connection to the development of Alzheimer's disease. He believes that the myth of danger of cooking was started when someone asked him what he cooked with and he answered "Teflon cookware." Apparently no one asked or quoted him as to why. He thought it was easier to clean! True story. Heard this at a conference on aging from the expert himself. Unfortunately, I don't recall his name. (ok, there is some humor in not being able to remember the name of the expert on Alzheimer's disease :-)

John Swank
- Troy, Ohio

A. My grandmother used her aluminum cookware until she died. She was in her 70's and died of a heartache, but previously had a very sharp mind. I have always used the aluminum cookware (30+ years). I believe that with all the other environmental causes of aluminum that are around, we would not only have to quit cooking with aluminum, but curtail half of our diet and our air - if we believe that it makes that much difference. I personally do not believe anything that makes its way through the newspapers or internet. If there is something I am concerned about, I ask my doctor, pharmacist or look it up myself in the library and get solid facts to back it up. With those solid facts and my grandmothers full, happy, and sharp life to go on I believe I will go on using my aluminum cookware.

Ruthe Bullington
retired - Markleysburg, Pennsylvania

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
HIGHLIGHTS: Everyone is exposed to low levels of aluminum from food, air, and water. Exposure to high levels of aluminum may result in respiratory problems. Aluminum has been found in at least 427 of the 1,467 National Priorities List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This fact sheet answers the most frequently asked health questions (FAQs) about aluminum. For more information, call the ATSDR Information Center at 1-888-422-8737. This fact sheet is one in a series of summaries about hazardous substances and their health effects. It's important you understand this information because this substance may harm you. The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ToxFAQs June 1999 TSDR
What is aluminum?
Aluminum occurs naturally and makes up about 8% of the surface of the earth. It is always found combined with other elements such as oxygen, silicon, and fluorine.
Aluminum metal is silver-white and flexible. It is often used in cooking utensils, containers, appliances, and building materials. It is also used in paints and fireworks; to produce glass, rubber, and ceramics; and in consumer products such as antacids, astringents, buffered aspirin, food additives, and antiperspirants.
What happens to aluminum when it enters the environment?
It binds to particles in the air.
It can dissolve in lakes, streams, and rivers depending on the quality of the water.
Acid rain may dissolve aluminum from soil and rocks.
It can be taken up into some plants from soil.
It is not known to bioconcentrate up the food chain.
How might I be exposed to aluminum?
Eating small amounts of aluminum in food.
Breathing higher levels of aluminum dust in workplace air.
Drinking water with high levels of aluminum near waste sites, manufacturing plants, or areas naturally high in aluminum.
Eating substances containing high levels of aluminum (such as antacids) especially when eating or drinking citrus products at the same time.
Very little enters your body from aluminum cooking utensils.
How can aluminum affect my health?
Low-level exposure to aluminum from food, air, water, or contact with skin is not thought to harm your health. Aluminum, however, is not a necessary substance for our bodies and too much may be harmful.
People who are exposed to high levels of aluminum in air may have respiratory problems including coughing and asthma from breathing dust.
Some studies show that people with Alzheimer's disease have more aluminum than usual in their brains. We do not know whether aluminum causes the disease or whether the buildup of aluminum happens to people who already have the disease. Infants and adults who received large doses of aluminum as a treatment for another problem developed bone diseases, which suggests that aluminum may cause skeletal problems. Some sensitive people develop skin rashes from using aluminum chlorohydrate deodorants.

CAS # 7429-90-5
Federal Recycling Program Printed on Recycled Paper
ToxFAQs Internet address via WWW is
Where can I get more information? For more information, contact the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Toxicology, 1600 Clifton Road NE, Mailstop E-29, Atlanta, GA 30333.
ATSDR can tell you where to find occupational and environmental health clinics. Their specialists can recognize, evaluate, and treat illnesses resulting from exposure to hazardous substances. You can also contact your community or state health or environmental quality department if you have any more questions or concerns.
How likely is aluminum to cause cancer?
The Department of Health and Human Services, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the EPA have not classified aluminum for carcinogenicity. Aluminum has not been shown to cause cancer in animals.
How can aluminum affect children?
Children with kidney problems who were given aluminum in their medical treatments developed bone diseases.
Other health effects of aluminum on children have not been studied. It is not known whether aluminum affects children differently than adults, or what the long-term effects might be in adults exposed as children. Large amounts of aluminum have been shown to be harmful to unborn and developing animals because it can cause delays in skeletal and neurological development. Aluminum has been shown to cause lower birth weights in some animals.
How can families reduce the risk of exposure to aluminum?
The most important way families can lower exposure to aluminum is to know about the sources of aluminum and lessen exposure to these sources. Since aluminum is so common and widespread in the environment, families cannot avoid exposure to aluminum. Exposure to the low levels of aluminum that are naturally present in food and water and the forms of aluminum present in dirt and aluminum cookware is generally not harmful. The best way to reduce exposure to aluminum is to avoid taking large quantities of soluble forms of aluminum such as aluminum-containing antacids and buffered aspirin. Make sure these products have child-proof caps so children will not accidentally eat them. Some soy-based formulas may contain high levels of aluminum, so parents may want to consult with their physician when choosing an infant formula.
Is there a medical test to show whether I've been exposed to aluminum?
There are tests to measure aluminum in blood, urine, and feces. The amount in your urine can tell you whether you have been exposed to higher than normal levels of aluminum.
Tests can also detect aluminum in your hair and fingernails. Not all of these tests are routinely performed at your doctor's office, but your doctor can take samples and send them to a testing laboratory.
Has the federal government made recommendations to protect human health?
EPA requires that spills or accidental releases of 5,000 pounds or more of aluminum sulphate be reported. Special regulations are set for aluminum phosphide because it is a pesticide.
EPA recommends that the concentration of aluminum in drinking water not exceed 0.2 parts of aluminum per million parts of water (0.2 ppm) because of aesthetic effects, such as taste and odor problems.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that aluminum cooking utensils, aluminum foil, antiperspirants, antacids, and other aluminum products are generally safe.

-- Source of information
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), 1999. Toxicological profile for aluminum. Atlanta, GA: U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health
CAS # 7429-90-5

Melissa Hernandez
- Clearwater, Florida

A. Thank you Melissa,

To avoid some exposure to aluminium remove foods from cookware after use - particularly acid foods. Wrap foods in wax paper instead of foil for storage.

Protection of the lungs is very important since our lungs are half of our absorptive tissue. When we buy a house we should have air, soil and water samples taken.
Our environment is more important than our cookware.

The way we cook is also more important than our cookware. I worry about microwave ovens and plastic. I use cast iron, stainless steel and one 1930's club aluminum roasting pan. (The glass ones always crack because I forget to turn off the oven. Oh well, such is life.)

Rod Farmer
- cold spring. New York
March 5, 2022

A. Following considerable research in the 90's, I found no factual evidence linking the use of aluminum cookware with Alzheimer's Disease. Consequently, I have continued to use aluminum cookware. Due to the fact that we humans are not cloned or identical, each individual body will respond and/or react to difference substances in unique ways. My paternal grandmother is 103 years old and has complete clarity of her intellect. She has been using aluminum cookware for most of her adult life. Every morning she prepares espresso coffee in her aluminum coffee pot. This is a fact. However, this does not mean that cooking with aluminum cookware is safe. It only means that it does not appear to have caused detriment to my grandmother. My perspective is that we should all not 'believe' the opinions or the recommendations we share on the internet or elsewhere. We can take individual responsibility for this type of inquiry, do our own research and form our own opinions and proceed accordingly. Researching any given subject, requires the willingness to search for genuine and authentic facts and tediously sift through the disinformation that we sometimes accept as factual evidence.

Sara Fernandez
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida

"Handbook on the Toxicology of Metals"

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!! Paranoia? Bear with me...please: I just bought some used aluminum pots. I washed them with a 00 steel wool product, the water was black (curious). Observing this, I then washed the pots thoroughly with soap, water and a scrubbie. After drying, I then rubbed the inside of the pots with my finger numerous times and received a dark metallic residue on my finger (curious). Thinking I was going crazy, I rubbed again with other fingers...all covered with a metallic film(hmm).

Some of us know that western society is in the business of getting us sick and keeping us there, but I will not be sold on this issue, I won't take the chance, or be a stat. And I'm a firm believer in research, and yes there are proponents and opponents. Aluminum is aluminum, I don't think I'll be using any aluminum, if I can help it.

I'll stick with my instinct, and wash away the evidence and worry that is all over my fingers.

Trey Sargent
- Santa Cruz, California

A. Hi Trey. Aluminum dissolves in alkali; dishwasher detergent or laundry detergent is a problem and probably the cause of that blackening; I, too, might throw away a pot of unknown history which reacted the way you described.

But you could try scrubbing it with cream of tartar [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] . Many people have reported & illustrated great success with this procedure on thread 41066, "Dishwasher ruined shiny aluminum".

Unfortunately, if you are successful in avoiding the trappings of western society because you "know western society is in the business of getting us sick and keeping us there", you'll unfortunately still be left walking, standing, sitting & lying on aluminum. Third only to oxygen & silicon, aluminum is the most common material on earth, so everything in nature everywhere is largely aluminum; whether good for you or bad for you, you'll be eating and breathing a lot of it regardless :-(

Good luck with cookware that you'll be happier with ... perhaps glass, cast iron, or copper (although copper is only safe if tin coated). Good luck!

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. Here are my thoughts:

Aluminum is a naturally occurring element.
Teflon has been created by man.
I fear more what man has created than what occurs naturally on our planet.

My grandmother is 91, sharp as a whip and had been using aluminum cookware since pre-1955.
I have recently rid myself of non-stick coating cookware.
And that's all I have to say on the subject!

Vanessa Cannucci
- Overland Park, Kansas

A. You know, anecdotes about people's grandmothers and the natural source of aluminium are well and fine. Besides the one post from the gov't above, nothing here is useful.

You know, I think lead is natural too, I don't recommend eating it or cooking with it.

Here is the best article I could find, from the US FDA (FDA Consumer magazine article I guess):

Is That Newfangled Cookware Safe?
by Dale Blumenthal

for example:

" Chemicals that migrate from cookware into food are considered food additives (substances that become a component of a food or otherwise affect its characteristics) and are therefore under FDA's jurisdiction. FDA addresses safety concerns about housewares on a case-by-case basis.
For instance, after a California family suffered acute lead poisoning from drinking orange juice stored in a ceramic pitcher bought in Mexico, FDA initiated a formal compliance action in 1971 limiting the amount of lead that may leach from products used to hold food. In taking this action, the agency relied on food additive provisions that prohibit adulterating a food by adding poisonous and deleterious substances to the food. Since then, FDA has tightened restrictions on lead. (See An Unwanted Souvenir: Lead in Ceramic Ware, in the December 1989-January 1990 issue of FDA Consumer.)

section on aluminium:

More than half (52 percent) of all cookware sold today is made of aluminum, according to Cookware Manufacturers Association executive vice president Paul Uetzmann. But most of these aluminum pots and pans are coated with nonstick finishes or treated using a process that alters and hardens the structure of the metal.
In the 1970s, Canadian researchers reported that the brains of Alzheimer's disease victims contained abnormally high levels of aluminum. The studies stirred a controversy about whether aluminum is the cause or result of the disease. At the same time, many concerned consumers discarded their natural aluminum cookware.
Stephen Levick, M.D., from Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., wrote in a letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, out with my corroded aluminum pots.
John Koning, M.D., from Riverside General Hospital in Corona, Calif., responded, most ingested aluminum is recovered in the feces, and much more is ingested by a person taking antacids than one could ever leach from an aluminum pan. Dr. Levick has thrown away his pots and pans to no avail? Researchers still are investigating the connection between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease. But according to Creighton Phelps, Ph.D., director of medical and scientific affairs at the Alzheimer's Association, much recent data support the theory that brains already damaged by Alzheimer's disease may permit entry of abnormally high levels of aluminum. As FDA and researchers point out, aluminum is ubiquitous. It is the third most abundant element in the earth's crust (after oxygen and silicon). It is in air, water and soil, and ultimately in the plants and animals we eat.
Many over-the-counter medicines also contain aluminum. According to the Aluminum Association, one antacid tablet can contain 50 milligrams of aluminum or more, and it is not unusual for a person with an upset stomach to consume more than 1,000 milligrams, or 1 gram, of aluminum per day. A buffered aspirin tablet may contain about 10 to 20 milligrams of aluminum. In contrast, in a worst-case scenario, a person using uncoated aluminum pans for all cooking and food storage every day would take in an estimated 3.5 milligrams of aluminum daily. Aluminum cookware manufacturers warn that storing highly acidic or salty foods such as tomato sauce, rhubarb, or sauerkraut in aluminum pots may cause more aluminum than usual to enter the food. (Also, undissolved salt and acidic foods allowed to remain in an aluminum pot will cause pitting on the pot's surface.) However, aluminum intake is virtually impossible to avoid, and the amount leached in food from aluminum cookware is relatively minimal, according to Thomas.
FDA reviewed existing data because of consumer concern and formally announced in May 1986 that the agency has no information at this time that the normal dietary intake of aluminum, whether from naturally occurring levels in food, the use of aluminum cookware, or from aluminum food additives or drugs, is harmful.

Jack Brown
- Atlanta, Georgia

[Ed. update: The above link has broken. Thankfully, The Internet Archive preserved a copy smiley
These days information often appears on the internet, then disappears forever. If that bothers or frightens you please consider a donation to The Internet Archive].

thumbs up sign Thanks for the quotes, Jack! We're very happy to see a full range of thinking here. Please continue to contribute any additional thoughts you wish, and to disagree as strongly as you wish with anything posted here -- but as for "anecdote": Hundreds of millions of people, probably billions, all across the globe using aluminum cookware generation after generation, 7 decades and more, and still no smoking gun, no obvious harm, despite decades of intensive investigations is NOT an anecdote! -- it's a compelling statistical proof.

Sure, official government reports are usually more trustworthy than individual reports, but Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" [on eBay, Amazon, or AbeBooks (adv.)] sparked the worldwide environmental movement by indicting those same bureaucrats for their jaw-dropping blindness across the board. From pesticides to elm trees those bureaucracies demonstrated utter ignorance for decades; Silent Spring was clearly "useful" :-)

Further, no one here claimed anything even remotely similar to "aluminum must be safe because it is prevalent in the natural environment". That is a complete mischaracterization; rather, what I said is that aluminum is so common in the natural environment that trying to get away from it by "avoiding the trappings of Western Society" probably won't work. You yourself just quoted the same thing:

"As FDA and researchers point out, aluminum is ubiquitous. It is the third most abundant element in the earth's crust (after oxygen and silicon). It is in air, water and soil, and ultimately in the plants and animals we eat.".

Thanks again.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

! I believe in good research and trusted sources; so, here is a good read from the Alzheimer's Association.

They are leaning toward "inconclusive".
I like the cliche ... "better safe than sorry."

Paul H. Jackman
- San Antonio, Texas

[Ed. note: The above link has broken; thankfully,'s wonderful Wayback Machine saved a copy smiley face ].
If you'd like to see history preserved in this age where so much never sees print, but appears on websites and then disappears, please consider a donation to the Internet Archive.

thumbs up sign That is indeed a great read, Paul; thank you very much for it! But I can't interpret their conclusions the way you did. I saw:

"The vast majority of mainstream scientists now believe that if aluminum plays any role at all in Alzheimer's, that role is small."

". . . most mainstream health professionals believe, based on current knowledge, that exposure to aluminum is not a significant risk factor. Public health bodies sharing this conviction include the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Health Canada. . ."

"Further, it is unlikely that people can significantly reduce their exposure to aluminum through such measures as avoiding aluminum-containing cookware, foil, beverage cans, medications and other products."

"Leaning towards 'Inconclusive' "? "Better safe than sorry"? I didn't see anything remotely like that in the article you referenced! Maybe you're thinking of some other article?

Thanks again.
Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

! Aluminum is everywhere. So are many things all over the earth that are poisonous when ingested. Common sense tells me not to eat aluminum, or put anything into my body that has been in an aluminum container. I use cast iron skillets.

Bettina Friedman
- San Diego, California
March 15, 2008

thumbs up sign Hi, Bettina. Use whatever cookware you prefer, for whatever reason. But when you say "common sense tells me ...", what do you actually mean? My common sense tells me that aluminum is safe when hundreds of millions of people have cooked with it for generation after generation with no substantial and non-debatable evidence of harm. What is your "common sense" seeing that makes you frightened of aluminum containers but comfortable with cast iron? Thanks.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

! I find this site very interesting. Today, I finally found my mum's old "Chicken Bucket" low pressure fryer. It is made of aluminum. My husband insisted that I not use it again after tonight because of what it's made of and instead to purchase a very pricey stainless steel low pressure fryer. After having a wonderful chicken dinner and cleaning everything up, I decided that perhaps I should just see if the jury is still out on "Aluminum cookware causes Alzheimer's".
Well, after reading the many posts that support aluminum cookware, I just might not be so hasty to trash my Mumma's Chicken Bucket. I also read that these pots were dangerous because they exploded... Not sure how that would happen if you read (studied) the directions on how to use it. Anyway, thanks for the info.

Marilu Gibbs
- Forest, Ontario, Canada
April 8, 2008

A. There seems to be "scare" literature on the Internet on just about every subject. Regarding aluminum pots and pans, we could try to read all the Government literature on the subject, or we could just use our common sense. My common sense: My mother used Club Aluminum pots and pans from 1940 until she died in 2000. I grew up eating foods she cooked in them every day of my childhood and young adulthood. My wife and I used a set of Club Aluminum pots and pans from the day we married in 1968 forward, and I still have all of them and use them every day. I raised my two children on foods I cooked in them. They are now approaching age 40 and I am 65. And the three of us are still alive and healthy.

This nonsense about the danger of aluminum cooking forced the excellent Club Aluminum Company out of business. Fortunately when my daughter got married in 1996 they were still available and I bought her a set of them.

Club Aluminum cookware on eBay affil links

No matter what it is, there is somebody claiming it will do serious damage to you. For the past few years it has been electric blankets and clock radios in bedrooms. It appears they send electromagnet waves RIGHT INTO YOUR BRAIN! The same articles advise NEVER to microwave food, never to eat at restaurants who use microwave ovens, etc.

All of this is nonsense, and we know it because jillions of us who use electric blankets, clock radios and microwave ovens are still here after many, many years.

It's a matter of common sense.

James Zemboy
- Detroit, Michigan

A. While growing up, my father prevented us from cooking in Aluminum cookware because of the Alzheimer's theory - and so we have been cooking in Stainless.

I found an excellent website on The Dangers of Aluminum Toxicity - I believe written by the Medicine Editor.

Scroll down and read number 2:
2) Use stainless steel, glass, or iron cookware. Stainless steel is the best choice.

Sofia C
- Reading, Pennsylvania

[Ed. update: The above link is not secure -- don't go there. Thankfully, The Internet Archive saved a copy smiley on their secure site. Please consider a donation to The Internet Archive].

thumbs up sign Hi, Sofia, thanks. That was NOT "the Medicine Editor" it was their "Alternative Medicine Editor". That's a huge difference.

Please see the quotes above from the FDA and from the Alzheimer's Association, which do not appear to share the concern of that one particular alternative medicine editor whatsoever.

Regards and thanks again,
Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. My question is as follows: I am going camping with some friends and want to give them a pioneer experience. But I have a limited budget. I went to a discount store and saw some aluminum cookware that my Spanish friends use a lot to cook rice and beans. The company name is Torware. First, is this type of cookware toxic? If not, then next question: Can I use this cookware directly on the campfire? Do I have to prepare it like the cast Iron pots?
A swift reply would be greatly appreciated.
Elizabeth Hunt
- New York, New York
July 4, 2008

A. Hi, Elizabeth. Your Spanish friends use this. The Alzheimer's association apparently sees no danger in aluminum. The government is not trying to discourage you or discourage companies from stocking department store shelves with it.

All of them could be wrong of course ... but if we won't believe friends, the Alzheimer's Association, and government regulators, then asking a stranger on the internet isn't likely to clarify things -- still, since you asked, I say it's safe :-)

There was no aluminum in pioneering days, but have a great trip!

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. It's probably too late for your camping trip, but any pot that you put directly on the campfire will need to be soaped first (on the outside) to keep it from becoming permanently blackened by the smoke. Is that what you meant about preparing an aluminum pot the same as you would a cast iron one?

Barbara Millikan
- Sheridan Oregon

! You can believe whatever you like but cooking out of aluminum pots and pans is VERY bad for your health. The metal when heated opens the pores and leaches into your food. Nasty, Nasty. Getting your blood poisoned is no way to live.

Alex Royal
- San Diego, California

thumbs up signHi Ted,
We crossed paths before when I worked in a coating firm in Georgia. You helped me when investigating hard chrome platings. Like others I found your thread when googling food grade aluminum. I already knew you as a straight shooter so it was fun to read this thread -- and helpful. Good moderating and great to see all sides. I had this discussion with my wife just this A.M. about "raw" aluminum vs. anodized (set me off in search mode) I told her 90% of her aluminum cookware was raw non anodized, and anodized while harder, is no difference in cookware safety. Trying to get a bead on raw aluminum food complaint aspects.
Brad Barrett
- Cartersville, Georgia

"The Surface
Treatment &
Finishing of
Aluminium and
Its Alloys"

by Wernick, Pinner
& Sheasby

on AbeBooks

or eBay or

(note: this book is two volumes)

(affil links)

Hi, Brad. Nice to hear from you again, and thanks for the kind words.

I personally doubt that there is a safety issue, but I think hard anodized aluminum has a nice advantage in stability and appearance. Our Calphalon hard anodized pans are great. In contrast, we bought a Bialetti aluminum espresso coffee pot a few months ago with very little if any anodizing thickness.

We don't use it much, and when I went to make cappuccino yesterday there was quite a bit of ugly corrosion inside (probably from neglecting to dry it properly, and letting it sit moist for a couple of weeks). It would not grow this unsightly corrosion if it was hard anodized even if left wet. If your patience is unlimited, Wernick, Pinner & Sheasby says you can build a thin but useful anodized layer by boiling distilled water in your aluminum pot or pan for 24 hours ⇩

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. Ted, in your response you mention corrosion inside the coffee pot. Would that be unhealthy to keep using? I have a coffee pot that is specifically for putting water in on top of the stove. There's no way to reach in and clean it. I've had more than one over the years and have seen them corrode to the point of getting holes in the bottom and leaking. I've thrown some away before they reach the point of getting holes.
My question is are they safe to use? What is an alternative? Thanks.

Kathy Schafer
- Columbus, Ohio
October 20, 2008

A. Hi, Kathy. While it would be nice if someone could offer you an absolute answer on the safety of aluminum in all circumstances, they can't. All they can offer is their take. My personal opinion, which I've offered countless times on this and similar threads, is that your coffee pot is harmless based on the evidence you see discussed on this page. An alternative would certainly be a stainless steel pot, but then you'd need to search the site for our several very similar discussions on the safety of stainless steel. Some people worry about the nickel content, and no matter what you make anything out of, there will those who think it's unsafe. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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