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topic 22551 p3

Is There a Danger in Cast Aluminum Cookware?



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A discussion started in 2003 but continuing through 2018

March 29, 2014

Q. Hello, At the thrift store I bought two pots, one is a Wagner Ware Sidney O Magnalite 1.5 qt and the other is a Meyer Professional hard anodized 2 qt made in Hong Kong. I've sanitized and cleaned them and plan to add them to the pots I use to cook for my family. These are the first pots I've bought second hand and not knowing their history now I'm balking at using them. They're both very well built, but both seem to be quite discolored inside and out and there's pitting too. They're also heavier than my Revereware.

Can you tell me please the best way to remove the stains and discoloration and how to polish them? And if you think I should even use them. Thank you and I really appreciate the way you respond evenly and thoughtfully to posters of all sorts. Thank you.

Maria Derenge
- Phoenix, Arizona, USA


March 31, 2014

A. Hi Maria. Thank you for your kindness. I'm not really highly experienced in refurbishing pots, I'm just the website operator. But I do believe that the "cream of tartar" suggestion proposed at both the beginning and end of letter 34157, "Need help cleaning/polishing aluminum cookware" is the best idea I've read. Best of luck with it.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


August 7, 2014

! Question to all who said they will not use their aluminum cookware because it might be harmful. Do you even think twice when you drink water/soda/beer, etc., out of an aluminum can? I would bet not! I have used my Club aluminum cookware for 30 years now and will continue using it ... it will probably outlast me.

David Manley
- Campbellsburg, Kentucky USA


September 22, 2014

! I have been using vintage Club and West Bend cast aluminum pots and pans that I have acquired second hand. I bought them mainly for their proven durability after going through so many modern options whose usefulness came to very obvious ends despite the amount of good money spent on them. I have found a great deal of products that I prefer the vintage over the modern because of this issue. My pots specifically I use for everything including tomato sauces because I have never tasted a difference from the pots being reactive.

After reading up on the concerns of aluminum cookware I don't know if I am convinced just yet as to its dangers, mostly because there seem to be quite a lot of companies promoting their non poisoning cookware. I would hate to not use my Club and West Bend pots and pans. They are turquoise and red colored, but I am not keen on leaching metals either. There does not seem to be any clear authority on this subject or a clear solution. I won't be intimidated by fear to spend thousands on "safe" cookware, so I am really unsure what I can change. This year I made my salsa in a borrowed pot because the seasoning package warned of tomatoes and aluminum plus vinegar, which seemed reasonable, but beyond that I really am not sure.

chrissy Larsens
- Salem Oregon United States


January 15, 2015

Q. I read you could restore your Magnalite to shiny again by using a Dremel or simply sandpaper. Then how do you keep it that way?

Vicki Hall
- Bridge City, Texas USA


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January 16, 2015

! Years of debate and ultimately...Teflon has been determined to be a carcinogen and will be voluntarily phased out this year. Does that mean that all the people who stuck with Teflon because they were scared of cast aluminum harmed themselves and their families in the process? Does it mean they potentially unnecessarily exposed them to a carcinogen at the dinner table? Yes and yes.

I recently bought a Nordic Ware lasagna pan (bakeware) made of cast aluminum because I know in 2015 that Teflon is bad. I found this when searching for more information about cast aluminum. Looks like I made a good choice, though I would like some ceramic bake ware as well.

Anything is better than tin foil I suppose. Oops, I mean Teflon.

Dev Martin
- Burlington, Vermont, USA


January 2015

Hi Dev. Thanks. Can you give us a link? I find no Google or Bing news on Teflon in nearly a decade except for the establishment of a website by former teflon factory workers this month.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


January 18, 2015

See here: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/
And here specifically: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/pubs/stewardship/index.html

"In January 2015, EPA released the most recent reports, for years 2013 and 2014, from participating companies on progress they have made in reaching the program's phase-out goals. Results show that the companies are on track to reach the program's goal of phasing out these chemicals by the end of 2015."

I first heard about it in the promoted comments of a news article. I verified it somewhere reputable then too. But I figure the EPA is one of the best sources to link now anyway.

Dev Martin
- Burlington, Vermont, USA


January 2015

Hi Dev. Thanks. But your two postings do not fit together. As EPA says on the page you linked to:

"However, consumer products made with fluoropolymers and fluorinated telomers, including Teflon® and other trademark products, are not PFOA. Rather, some of them may contain trace amounts of PFOA and other related perfluorinated chemicals as impurities. The information that EPA has available does not indicate that the routine use of consumer products poses a concern. At present, there are no steps that EPA recommends that consumers take to reduce exposures to PFOA."

That is, it looks like you have misunderstood what you read, and it doesn't look like Teflon is being phased out.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



December 2, 2014

thumbs up sign I've been keeping a Club Hammercraft dutch oven that my father-in-law (for some reason) stored honey in when he kept bees. It was probably, to him, just a nice capacious pot that had been used in his mother's kitchen in years gone by. His generation bought new things when they left the farm. I was organizing today and almost put it in the box for give away when I got a sentimental thought about it and decided to look into the whole safety issue of aluminum cookware. I admit to avoiding it based on the scare several years ago, but I also have fond memories of my mother's chili which she always prepared in a cast aluminum dutch oven (yes tomato acid!) and I had a thought I might keep this one and use it. I feel fine about that decision after reading all of the scientific and reasoned discussion about the issue. Thanks to all of you out there for taking the time to post. My only issue now is how to get the lovely honey smell out of the metal. Maybe everything I cook in it will be a little sweet. Sweet memories.

Linda Moore
- Duluth, Georgia, USA


January 12, 2015

Q. I too have aluminum pots. Old and new. I may have messed up. I decided to clean inside and out including lids. I had read an article how a person took a Dremel tool and cleaned to a high shine, just like new. So tried this, there was a lot of dust and material flying. I have used the pot several time since. And I have always washed in the dishwasher. So, does this mean the anodized coating has been removed. In reading the Q and A there seems some Magnalite is coated and some not. Have I opened the surface to a point the aluminum is dangerous, and leaching. These pots are at least 30 yrs. old.

Vicki Hall
- Bridge City, Texas USA



February 3, 2015

Q. The aluminum debate is out there. Now I am seeing stainless steel cookware contains nickel and chrome which is toxic and leaches into food with salt. Glass cookware explodes. Cast iron leaches iron which is harmful to males. Of all the cookware materials which is the least dangerous?

Keith Lai
- Honolulu, Hawaii USA


February 2015

A. Hi Keith. We have several other threads on line here about the safety of aluminum, and various stainless steel cookwares, and cast iron, etc. -- the discussion can go on absolutely forever. But hundreds of millions of people, maybe billions, have used aluminum cookware for generation after generation without any non-debatable hazard. How dangerous can it possibly be in the absolute worst case?

So I still maintain that, in a world that is perpetually falling apart and where there are so many real dangers to spend your time on, none of these cookwares are dangerous enough to waste any of your time worrying about. Just use something that you like cooking with, and worry about GMOs, growth hormones, excessive antibiotics, vaccinations, fluorides, bee extinction, global warming, nuclear armed terrorists, revolution, or extinction-event comets :-)

Luck and Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


February 10, 2015

A. Keith,
Any dinner that is able to pull chromium and nickel off of stainless cookware in any meaningful, much less dangerous, amount, is certainly not something I would want to eat! The same goes for aluminum.

Somehow I doubt iron is harmful, it is a vital part of our hemoglobin, after all. Possibly in some kind of absurd amount, but that's true of anything. I would do some checking on whatever source is making this claim.

As far as exploding glass, I'm sure it's possible, but only if specific conditions are met, like a certain type of defect or doing something very foolish.

Ted's right, folks are always trying to stir up panic over something or other, and the credibility or likelihood of each supposed threat varies wildly. Common sense is better than paranoia, though.

ray kremer
Ray Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
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April 7, 2015

Q. We now have a 10" anodized aluminum dutch oven in our camping gear. I had previously tossed anything aluminum from our shelves over the Alzheimer/aluminum issues. We have lots of cast iron cookware.

I've just read a good number of the postings regarding the use of aluminum and some of the information has calmed fears regarding cookware usage.

My two issues now are: the pot was manufactured in China, and the lid is not anodized.

Given manufacturing issues that have come out of China (dog food, p-lam in milk), I prefer to support 'Made in North American'.

Any thoughts on this particular dutch oven and its safety value? Thank you

Linda N. Riddell
- North Vancouver, BC, Canada


April 11, 2015

A. Hi Linda
Why are you ditching a perfectly good aluminium pot?
Aluminium is the third most abundant element on the planet, it cannot be avoided.
Iron pots? Iron is a vital dietary ingredient.
Copper? The material of choice by professional cooks for centuries - and it has strong anti-bacterial properties.

Having spent my professional career working with some truly nasty chemicals, I may offer some thoughts.

There are no toxic chemicals; only toxic quantities (Paracelsus 13C) Lesson; don't eat the cooking pot.

Even more important; Worry kills more people than the things they worry about.

So enjoy your food and sleep well and avoid reading scare stories spread by the totally ignorant.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England


April 11, 2015

Q. Geoff, thank you for your fulsome answer.

My concern, at this point, rather than specific metals, has to do with production of metal products coming out of China. Any experiences, comments, opinions out there?

Thanks to Ted for this forum and the connections that are made to answers.

Linda

P.S. Great photo!

Linda N. Riddell [returning]
- North Vancouver, BC, Canada


April 2015

thumbs up signTo complement The Great Firewall (which makes sure nothing uncomplimentary can pass into China), researchers have just today announced the existence of The Great Cannon, a technology that allows China to instantly fire a gigantic distributed denial of service attack to bring down any website which speaks poorly of them.

China is great and good and we shall speak no evil of her. Learn to love anti-freeze in your dog food and cadmium in your children's toys.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"


April 11, 2015

Point well taken. Thank you Ted.

I hereby close out my query.

Ciao.

Linda N. Riddell [returning]
- North Vancouver, BC, Canada


April 20, 2015

thumbs up signTed,
I have read all the posts an am in total agreement with you. My mom cooked on aluminum pots for 50 years and died at 90. I still have the old Magnalite she had an I think they are perfect. I use aluminum, iron and ceramic. I might die in a plane crash, fall off a flying trapeze or a camel, but not from use of a aluminum pot or stress about such nonsense.
Thanks for the entertainment,
Long live Magnalite.

Stephanie Reed
- San Francisco, California, USA


April 24, 2015

! China made items are too much of a gamble. While well-made aluminum cookware may be safe, that doesn't mean aluminum itself is not to be feared.

The aluminum in the pan may or may not be getting in to our bodies when we eat, but when you inject aluminum, i.e. many vaccines, you are being SURE to put it directly in your body. There are plenty of peer-reviewed science articles that show your body doesn't like being injected with aluminum. Given that babies now are getting way more shots than your grandma did, I think it explains the rise in dementia.

If you've already got all your shots, cooking with an aluminum pan is not nearly as bad as what you've already put yourself through. At least you're not eating scraped off Teflon.

Annie Door
- chatsworth, California, united states


August 2, 2015

thumbs up signMy great grandmother used Club aluminum pots and pans for decades; she lived to be 99 and a half with a sharp mind that was quicker than the rest of the family's!

Julie May
- Pacifica, California


December 30, 2015

I only wanted to thank you for all the answers that I found on this page. I also would like to commend you for your wonderful moderating skills. I wish that every discussion on the internet was moderated with such wit and sobriety.

Pierre Gallaz
- Paudex, VD, Switzerland


December 2015

thumbs up signThanks so much for taking the time to write your kind words, Pierre. But the truth is that I am earning my living by running this site, and it is one of the world's very best jobs. Many people have to work very hard, whereas I am blessed to be able to just sit back and read their comments and research whatever interests me -- so I am very very grateful.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"



My grandmother's Club aluminum pot

June 26, 2016

Q. Hi Mr. Mooney,

I have my grandmother's large Club Aluminum stock pot. I use it often and love it. I read other cleaning suggestions posted under cleaning and polishing aluminum cookware but did not see anything that addresses my question. After the pot is dry, there are small white "flakes" that develop on the inside of the pot. Is there something I should be doing to keep this from happening? Does the presence of these flakes impact the pot's use? I.e., is the pot still safe to cook with?

22551-1a  22551-1b  22551-1c

I have attached several pictures which will, hopefully, help with identifying what these flakes are. It was put accidentally in the dishwasher -- my son was trying to help clean up his dinner party mess. =)

Thanks for the help,

Susie

Susie Gulick
- Broadview Heights, Ohio USA


June 2016

A. Hi Susie. If you look at those white spots with a magnifying glass, I think you will find that they are pits rather than flakes. I don't think you can make them go away because they are depressions in the aluminum. You can simmer vinegar in the pot for 15 minutes and see if there is improvement, but I doubt it.

I personally don't think the pits are a safety issue (it has been discussed earlier on this page), but once again, who am I? -- certainly not someone with medical & epidemiology expertise :-)

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"



July 2, 2016

Q. I hope I'm not sounding too paranoid. That said, I started using a nasal bi-pap machine last year. Earlier this year, I began "purifying" the water that goes into the humidification tray by boiling it in a stove top pot (I had previously damaged this pot by over boiling ... fell asleep in the recliner, awoke and found the pot empty and sizzling).

Anyway, I noticed earlier this week that the "purified" water I was storing smelled like the inside of this pot ... now my fear, rational or not, is that I have been breathing this residue all night for several months. Incidentally, in that time I've developed tinnitus

My question, toxic pot = toxic water = me breathing it to my detriment?

Thanks,
CB

Chuck Best
- Irving, Texas USA



November 15, 2016

Q. Hi,
I just bought the Crofton 11 inch Cast Aluminium Fry Pan from Aldi.

Anybody bought this too? I just learning about Cast Aluminium.
Interesting thread of comments. I bought it b/c it is so Light
as i hate how heavy Cast Iron is, although i know that it is better for you.

Nancy Smith
- NYC, New York USA


February 14, 2017

RE: ALUMINIUM HEALTH ISSUES a few medical journals as you keep requesting - as you say more medical facts needed:

Environmental Geochemistry and Health
March 1997, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 00
Leaching of aluminium from cookwares
Rajwanshi, P., Singh, V., Gupta, M. et al. Environmental Geochemistry and Health (1997) 19: 0. doi:10.1023/A:1018466911282
Abstract
Concern over the possible relation between environmental aluminium exposure and Alzheimer's disease has prompted studies of all forms of human intake of this element including that from foods. Aluminium cookware, apart from other sources of dietary aluminium, is considered to be a potential source of this metal to human beings. Various research groups have carried out aluminium leaching experiments with food, beverages and water under different experimental conditions modified by varying the level of pH, chloride, fluoride, citrate, acetate etc. The results reported by different workers show marked discrepancies in levels of leached aluminum. The apparent reason for such discrepancy in levels of aluminum leached can be attributed to factors such as non-systematic and non-uniform experimental designs, non-standard conditions maintained during the experiments and choice of method for aluminium analysis. In order to assess accurately the contribution of aluminium ingestion by human beings through aluminium cookware, the present review emphasizes the need of i) standard size aluminium plates obtained from the same lot for one set of experimentations; ii) real life cooking conditions to highlight the role of various complexing species present in food e.g. citrate, oxalate, acetate, tartrate etc.; iii) role of chemistry of aluminium in presence of acidic, basic and neutral cooking medium and iv) strict analytical control in the estimation of aluminium. Results of a systematic study by the authors conducted on the above-mentioned lines are also described.
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John MILES
- London UK

----
Ed. note: Thanks John!


February 22, 2017

Q. Is Forged aluminium cookware safe?

Ivy Sew
- Batu Caves, Malaysia


March 8, 2017

A. Hi,

I am a retired chemical engineer (PhD) and geologist and now spend my time managing a chain of my high end restaurants on the west coast. I have not read anywhere in the posts on your thread about commercial and industrial installations that prepare and cook almost all of the food we eat as a people in restaurants, packages, fast food, etc. Without exception, any commercially viable entity that prepares and deals with food items for human consumption uses aluminum cooking utensils (pots, pans, spoons, forks, etc.). Though there is a large proponent of these institutions that would like to use stainless steel (and some are mandated by federal law to do so), the use of stainless steel is cost prohibitive and it does not cook as well or as fast (and BELIEVE me, time IS money in commercial/industrial kitchens).

So, if any of your readers ever buys takeout, eats at a restaurant, fast food establishment or buys prepared food items, they are consuming minuscule amounts of aluminum from the cookware these foods were prepared in. No, you cannot get away from aluminum in your food, at least not unless you live in Antarctica and hunt your own fish (but mercury is a big concern there).

Aluminum cookware heats more evenly, cooks better and lasts a long time, it is lighter to handle and simpler to clean using an abrasive powder and a scrub pad. Use your nice aluminum cookware, enjoy the ease of cooking it provides. As mentioned before, storing acidic foods in aluminum pots for more than a few hours is poor form as it will tend to pit the surface of the pots. The Internet is chock full of all kinds of people with zero to no scientific credentials, have limited or no common sense and this type of person is most apt to raise all kinds of concerns without being able to substantiate any of their claims.

There is not causal proof that aluminum is related to Alzheimer's, is the aluminum in the brain tissue before or after the disease? Who cares. We all use smart/cellphones, and these emit harmful EM radiation, and countless studies have published articles on both sides of this debate, but we don't stop using them, do we? Same goes for all of the EM radiation created by electrical conductors in our homes, businesses and workplaces. But do we stop living in our homes, work or play in buildings because there is a potential of cancer from EM radiation from electrical wires?

Wake up people, the earth is heated by decomposing radioactive elements in the mantle. The greatest cause of all plant and animal mutations on earth is the naturally occurring radiation from the same planet we live on that radiates to the surface of the crust. It has been for billions of years. Along with solar wind, neutrinos, charmed particles and all sub-atomic particles, we live in a dangerous universe (including the effect of gravity on our bodies). Minuscule aluminum atoms from aluminum pots, pans and utensils should not be a concern for your health and well-being.

My dad is 99 years old, has a better memory than I do, is completely lucid, still drives legally and has eaten from aluminum pots for over 60 years, and still does, as does his entire family. Same for my mom who died from a drunk driver at 94.

I will continue to use my aluminum cookware for myself, family and friends.

Michel

Michel Fortier
- Denver, Colorado, USA


May 2, 2017

thumbs up signThanks Michel for your generous explanation.

Ivy Sew [returning]
1963 - Batu Caves, Malaysia


July 19, 2017

Q. I recently acquired a Club Aluminum Dutch oven that had been left outside for an unknown amount of time. I have read the cleaning advice on this website and will follow it accordingly. It is actually in very good shape. However, my question is should I be concerned about the safety of using it since it was exposed to the outdoor elements?

CJ Lewis
- Baxley, Georgia


December 20, 2017

silly :-) Automobiles have been involved in many deaths. Perhaps we should go back to horses and/or mules or donkeys.

mary ann nelson
pharmacist ret. - Freeport, Illinois USA



December 30, 2017

After watching a video on how to test aluminum for toxicity I came to the internet to look for answers on why some aluminum cookware is different than others. The test on the cookware was done as follows. There were six pieces of cookware ranging from a small cup to a large pot with all but one piece being stamped aluminum and one being an old cast pot from the early 1950's. Apple sauce was poured into each and then heated over an open fire until the apple sauce began to steam. The apple sauce in all but the cast aluminum pot kept its color and smell but the apple sauce in the cast aluminum pot turned pink and emitted a putrid odor.

The owner of the video suggests that maybe at some point someone could have used the pot for something other than cooking and the aluminum could have absorbed some type of harmful chemical. e.g Some people would use old pots that were no longer used to cook with as a catch basin when draining oil or other chemicals from their vehicle. They were used as wash buckets in some cases. They were used for all kinds of things other than cooking. What would cause apple sauce to turn pink and have an awful odor when being heated in a cast aluminum pot and not in other aluminum cookware?

Gary Powell
- Erwin, North Carolina USA


January 2, 2018

thumbsdownI'm 59 years old. Long before the internet or google came along I was taught to stay away from cooking with aluminum, which is why they had enamel pots 'n pans -- as the metals leeched into all our foods.
I could care less what google says nor the internet; there is a reason you cook with stainless steel or enamel cookware. I have never been a fan of aluminum pots 'n pans.

Don Denver
- San Antonio, Texas USA


sidebar2 March 27, 2018

! Dear Mr. Mooney, reading many of your counter comments on different issues; it moves me to comment on your ill opinion of the internet, especially YouTube. Even if one was to sift out 90% of all information as garbage (which those proportions are irrational), think about the 10% which may be life saving for millions in regards to all the information our very own governments and private groups are keeping from us. You are a source of some great answers, but please cut the Truthers some slack. Thanks. Yankee Rose

Rose Nyerick
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana


March 2018

Hi cousin Rose; thanks for your input. I use youtube myself frequently and love it; and Finishing.com has embedded more than 200 YouTube videos & counting on our pages -- so I don't think my opinion of it is as negative as you believe. I feel that Truthers have far more to fear from censorship of Facebook, YouTube, and the other major sites & ISPs than they have to fear from me expressing a personal opinion on my site which probably doesn't represent one millionth of 1% of the internet.

But I do continue to believe that blogs, snippets, videos, and public forums -- even this one which I've put my heart & soul into for 23 years -- are a poor substitute for books & journals because authors spend thousands of hours organizing huge troves of information into careful tutorial fashion so a reader can progress without lost motion and without missing the important stuff, whereas bouncing around on the internet between postings which one can't yet understand, and stuff we've read a hundred times is inefficient, and people miss vital points all the time. Thanks again.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"



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