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Danger in Cast Aluminum Cookware?




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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 29, 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
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




! 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
August 7, 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
September 22, 2014




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
January 15, 2015




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! 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 16, 2015


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


Q. 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


A. Hi Dev. Thanks. I, probably like most people, am also concerned about Teflon because of it being a "forever" chemical (chemical bonds so strong that it never deteriorates into something else, but stays on the planet as Teflon forever).
But your two postings do not seem to 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 may have have misunderstood what you read ... it doesn't look like Teflon is being phased out.

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




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
December 2, 2014




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
January 12, 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 3, 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 our 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, extinction-event comets, or nuclear-accelerator-created black holes. :-)

Luck and Regards,
Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Update, Dec. 2022: My list of things to worry about didn't include pandemics :-(
How stupid and short-cited was I :-)


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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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 7, 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


thumbs up sign 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


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. We shall learn to love anti-freeze in our dog food and cadmium in our children's toys.

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


Point well taken. Thank you Ted.

I hereby close out my query.

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


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


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




! 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
April 24, 2015




sidebar

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


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 in my own home and read & post their comments and look into whatever catches my interest -- so I am very very grateful to you and all the readers for making such a dream job possible.

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




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 26, 2016


A. Hi Susie. If you look at you white spots with a magnifying glass, I think you may 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, I have no medical & epidemiology expertise :-)

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




Q. Hello; I read your response to the aluminum pits but I wanted to say that I too have this same problem. I seriously don't believe mine are pits but in fact flakes. When I use my cooking pot and put it to soak or sometimes use for extra humidity, it leaves these "flakes" around the cooking pot as well as through it (bottom, sides and around top rim at water level). It washes off with light scrubbing! I have thought about this often and my conclusion is this is actually mold, white mold. I have never put this pan in the dishwasher, I've never put any pots or pans inside my dishwasher. With that said I believe you're right on her pot as it did go through the dishwasher which seems to ruin pots and pans. What do you think of my cooking pot and the problems that entails when using water, could it in fact be white mold? Thanks in advance for your reply!

FH Florida Hart
- Salina, Kansas
December 2, 2022


A. Hi FS. Sorry but I have no familiarity with "white mold" in such a situation, so I can't say for sure it isn't, but I don't think it is. Aluminum does in fact corrode, and the corrosion products are white, and look a bit like dried salt deposits or mini volcanoes. If readers have aluminum shower doors, they may see such corrosion at the mitered edges where the corners join (because the aluminum was anodized & dyed before it was cut to length, and the non-anodized cut ends corrode due to be nearly constantly wet).

If the anodizing on your pot is pretty much gone, and you're using it in a fashion that favors creation of this corrosion (such as keeping it wet for long stretches and especially in a humid environment), you'll have to decide if it's worth the effort to be cleaning it constantly.

I'd suggest one really thorough cleaning/polishing with cream of tartar as described & illustrated in thread 41066, "Dishwasher ruined shiny aluminum", then using a different pot for your humidification needs, and not leaving this one soaking for long periods, and seeing if you find continuing to use this pot manageable.
Alternately, Rachel Macintosh suggests going in the opposite direction -- seasoning & treating your aluminum pots & pans pretty much the same way as your cast iron ones. And there is a lot to be said for that if you remain concerned about aluminum exposure because then you have a substantial layer of pretty much inert baked-on oil & grease between your food and the aluminum :-)

Luck & Regards,
pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




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, Chuck Best
- Irving, Texas USA
July 2, 2016


A. I would definitely stop using the water you've been using and replace it with fresh sterile distilled water due to the corrosion. I would then write or make an appointment to see an pulmonologist to answer your questions and see if this specific doctor recommends checking your lungs. I definitely would NOT use an aluminum pot to boil your water, aluminum is not a good choice at all. Wishing you the best!
F.H. Florida Hart
- Salina, Kansas
December 2, 2022




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
November 15, 2016



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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52. Martyn, C.N., Osmond, C., Edwardson, J.A., Barker, D.J.P., Harris, E.C. and Lacey, R.F. 1989. Geographical relation between Alzheimer's disease and aluminium in drinking water. Lancet, 1, 59-62.
53. Matsumoto, H., Hirasawa, E., Morimura, S. and Takahashi, E. 1976. Localization of aluminium in tea leaves. Plant Cell Physiology, 17, 627.
54. Matsushima, F., Meshitsuka, S., Funakawa, K. and Nose, T. 1990. Effects of sodium chloride, acetic acid and citric acid on the dissolution of aluminium from aluminium cooking utensils. Japan Journal of Hygiene, 45(5), 964-970.
55. Maugh, T.H. 1984. Acid rain's effects on people assessed. Science, 226, 1408-1410.
56. McDermott, J.R., Smith, A.D. Iabel, K. and Wisniewski, H.M. 1979. Brain aluminium in aging and Alzheimer disease. Neurology, 29, 809-814.
57. Metals handbook (1987) 9th edition, Volume 13: Corrosion. ASM International, Metals Park. OH, pp. 583-609.
58. Moody, G.H., Southam, J.C., Buchan, S.A. and Farmer, J.G. 1990. Aluminium leaching and fluoride. British Dental Journal, 169, 47-50.
59. Ondreicka, R., Kortus, J. and Ginter, E. 1971. Aluminium: its absorption, distribution and effects of phosphorus metabolism. In: Skoryna, S.C. and Edward, D.W. (eds), Intestinal Absorption of Metal Ions, Trace Elements and Radionuclides, Pergamon Press, New York.
60. Penna, R.P. 1979. Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs, 6th Ed. American Pharmaceutical Association, Washington DC.
61. Pennington, J.A.T. 1983. Revision of the total diet study food lists and diets. Journal of the American Dietic Association, 82(2), 166-173.
62. Pennington, J.A.T. 1987. Aluminium content of foods and diets. Food Additives and Contaminants, 5(2), 161-232.
63. Perl, D.P. and Brody, A.R. 1980. Alzheimer's disease: X-ray spectrophotometric evidence of aluminium accumulation in neurofibrillary tangle bearing neurons. Science, 208, 297-299.
64. Platts, M.M., Grech, P, McManners, T. and Cochran, M. 1973. Skeletal changes in patients treated by regular haemodialysis in the Sheffield area. British Journal of Radiology, 43, 585-593.
65. Platts M.M., Goode, G.C. and Hislop, J.S. 1977. Composition of the domestic water supply and the incidence of fracture an encephalopathy in patients on home dialysis. British Medical Journal, 2, 657-660.
66. Poe, C.F. and Leberman, J.M. 1949. The effects of acid foods on aluminium cooking utensils. Food Technology, 3(2), 71-74.
67. Rajwanshi, P. 1995. Studies on the interaction of aluminium and fluoride in common dietary items. PhD thesis submitted to Dayalbagh Educational Institute Dayalbagh, Agra, India.
68. Rao, J.K.S. and Radhakrishnamurty, R. 1990. Aluminium leaching from utensils during cooking and storage. Environment and Ecology, 8(1), 146-148.
69. Roberson, C.E. and Hem, J.D. 1967. Solubility of aluminium in the presence of hydroxide, fluoride and sulphate. US. Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 1827-C, Washington DC, p. 37.
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71. Savory, J., Nicholson, J.R. and Wills, M.R. 1987. Is aluminium leaching enhanced by fluoride? Nature, 327, 107-108.
72. Schauer, C.G. 1948. Pulmonary changes encountered in employees engaged in manufacture of aluminium abrasives: clinical and roentgenologic aspects. J. Occup. Med. 5, 718-728.
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74. Severus, H. 1988. The use of aluminium -- especially as packaging material in the food industry. In: Massey, R.C. and Taylor, D. (eds), Aluminium in Food and the Environment, Special Publication No. 73, Royal Society of Chemistry, pp. 88-101.
75. Sherlock, J.C. 1988. Aluminium in foods and the diet. In: Massey, R.C. and Taylor, D. (eds), Aluminium in Food and the Environment, Special Publication No. 73, Royal Society of Chemistry, pp. 68-761.
76. Stewart, W.K. 1988. Aluminium toxicity in individuals with chronic renal disease. In: Massey, R.C. and Taylor, D. (eds), Aluminium in Food and the Environment, Special Publication No. 73, Royal Society of Chemistry, pp. 6-19.
77. Tennakone, K. and Wickramanayake, S. 1987a. Aluminium leaching from cooking utensils. Nature, 325, 202.
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79. Tennakone, K., Wickramanayake, S. and Fernando, C.A.N. 1988. Aluminium contamination from fluoride assisted dissolution of metallic aluminium. Environmental Pollution, 49, 133-143.
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John MILES
- London UK
February 14, 2017

----
Ed. note: Thanks very much John! It's 2017 and this thread started in 2003, so introducing newer findings can be a valuable addition.



Q. Is Forged aluminium cookware safe?
Ivy Sew
- Batu Caves, Malaysia
February 22, 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


thumbs up signThanks Michel for your generous explanation.
Ivy Sew [returning]
1963 - Batu Caves, Malaysia




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
July 19, 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




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
December 30, 2017


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
January 2, 2018




sidebar2

thumbsdown 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 27, 2018



March 2018

thumbs up sign Hi cousin Rose; thanks for your input. I use youtube myself constantly and love it! And finishing.com has embedded more than 200 YouTube videos (& counting!) on these pages -- so I don't think my opinion of the internet or youtube is quite as negative as you have inferred.

But I do believe that blogs, snippets, videos, and public forums -- even www.finishing.com, which I've put my heart & soul into for 24 years -- are a poor substitute for books because authors of books spend thousands of hours organizing huge troves of information into careful tutorial fashion so a reader can progress without lost motion or missing important stuff ... whereas bouncing around on the internet means wasting endless hours reading the same introductory stuff dozens of times on the one hand mixed with frequently landing on pages we haven't learned enough to be able to understand yet on the other hand. It's just an inefficient way to try to learn a subject. People often come to this site claiming they are weary from hours on the internet doing so, and still they've missed vital points all the time ... so I continue to say that youtube is fine instruction on narrow subjects like replacing a specific faucet washer or automobile headlamp bulb but, for gaining expertise & proficiency in a field, the internet is usually a poorer tool than a book carefully prepared for efficient tutorial learning. Thanks again!

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



thumbs up sign My grandmother Belle Westaway from Brookline Massachusetts sold Club Aluminum during the depression in New England. She was the top salesperson at that time.
She lived to be 92.
Robert Direng
- South Park Pennsylvania
December 29, 2018


A. Hi Robert. Congratulations to your grandma! It strikes me that grandmas seem to be what holds civilization together :-)
Luck & Regards,
pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




sidebar

Q. Why do so many use the length of time their mother/father lived while using aluminium pots to argue aluminium must be okay? And using the argument their parents who died of heart disease (when - in their 60's?) used aluminium cookware? They therefore missed out on Alzheimer, Parkinsons or any other form of dementia which often comes on in OLD old age - such as 90 - 100 plus. Many in my family have lived to make 99 or 100, and if I live that long I want to enjoy my last 10 or 20 years as well as not be a burden on others. It's not hard to buy and use stainless steel pots and lessen the risk. Why not?
Victoria STOKES
- Thames NEW ZEALAND
March 5, 2019


A. Hi Victoria. Some people use the anecdotal argument that "my parents (or my grandparents) weren't harmed", but others use the statistical argument that hundreds of millions of people, don't seem to have been demonstrably harmed according to studies done by the people we entrust to do them like the Alzheimer's Association, the EPA, and WHO.

I'm certainly not saying that the risk is zero; some of those 'contrary' studies are listed on these pages. I'm saying that if/when those trusted sources change their minds, so will I; but in the meantime risk is everywhere -- so aluminum cookware is not something that I choose to worry over.

Lots of people feel stainless steel cookware is dangerous too -- threads 41738 & 30701 for starters :-)

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


Your points are good - in this imperfect world nothing is completely safe - but there were quite a few commenting whose main reason to use aluminium was based on the life of a relative.
Victoria STOKES [returning]
- Thames NEW ZEALAND


thumbs up sign You're absolutely right, Victoria. People can view the page and see that what you claim is very true.
Luck & Regards,
pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Q. Hi, I found this thread very interesting. Unlike most posters already in possession of anodized aluminum cookware, I am considering buying some. But it seems like all the modern-made sets also come advertised as "non-stick" or with a "non-stick coating." So, that is different than the older Club aluminum cookware people are talking about, right? Does anybody have a suggestion on what brands I can buy that don't have an extra nonstick coating? Or am I misunderstanding the descriptions and the "non-stick coating" they're referring to is, in most cases, just the anodizing properties? I did try to search the site to see if it was discussed but didn't see anything directly on point. I'm not sure if I just don't have enough foundational knowledge of the terms, but don't want to be tricked by advertising and end up with aluminum cookware that has additional chemical coatings. Thanks for any responses.
Sonia Johnson
- Richmond, Virginia, USA
June 22, 2019


A. Hi Sonia. The purpose of sales blurbs is to induce you to buy, not to technically inform you, so it can be quite difficult to tell if cookware is simply anodized or has a teflon or similar coating. Water will bead on any plastic coating and will probably not bead on an anodized surface; a hard anodized surface won't have a soft feel nor feel warm. But it can still be hard to tell.

Anodizing will not survive a dishwashing machine; I think many vendors are now adding non-stick, and it's possibly so that customers who put their pans in a dishwasher don't hassle them that the pan got ruined.

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


thumbs up sign  Ted, thanks for your quick response about shopping for anodized aluminum. I will keep some of those tips in mind while I look! Thanks again, Sonia
Sonia Johnson [returning]
- Richmond, Virginia, USA




! I agree completely with Jack Brown from Atlanta. I know I'm late to the party, but aluminum is still a concern in 2019 as it was when you all were discussing it, and save for a few relevant posts, many were unintelligent "hopefuls" that contributed little to the discussion. And yours, Mooney, were the least helpful of all. Sorry to sound snarky, but as someone trying to weed out misinformation from solid science, your speculations and musings on historical "evidence" simply don't count.

I've come to my own personal conclusion that aluminum cookware may not be particularly harmful (and refraining from cooking acidic foods in it is probably to one's benefit), but that's after reading and researching and digging deep into the science. It may not be exactly healthful either, and the link to Alzheimer's remains unconfirmed. Here's a well-balanced article on the topic: https://health.usnews.com/conditions/alzheimers/articles/is-there-a-connection-between-aluminum-and-alzheimers-disease

Regardless, I still drink beer out of aluminum cans, and cook with aluminum foil, and am contemplating purchasing a used aluminum pressure cooker for frying. I figure less is best in general, and that includes both aluminum exposure, as well as deep-frying anything.

Please consider that many of your readers (and a few of your writers) are deep thinkers with a decent IQ, and aren't fooled by speculations and outright lies and deceptions offered by someone trying to placate the masses because of a deeply held "belief" in any given thing's safety or harm value. Do the math, yo.
Witchy Woman
- Dallas, Texas USA
August 8, 2019

----
Ed. note: Thank you for your contribution to the discussion. Please provide your real name as this site strives to be a place of aloha, respect, and camaraderie, which can be difficult to maintain with anonymous postings :-)

thumbs up sign  I smelled something cookin', and came to join the party! Who brought the Buffalo wings?
My mentor/colleague and I both love our aluminum cookware, and both work in an aluminum anodizing shop (I'm the chemist, he's the engineer).
Both of us treat our aluminum like raw steel (think Woks and Paella pans) or cast iron:
No dishwasher, mild soap (if any), and lots of baked on grease.
Seriously.
Between us, he's the baker and I'm the cook. His muffin tins and cookie sheets have an impressively impermeable layer of orangeish brown baked-on grease passed down from his grandmother (yes, the grease as well as the pans themselves), and woe betide anyone who tries to be helpful and scour them clean! No cookies for you! Not only are they nonstick, but the aluminum is protected from the food, and vice versa.
I made him a Sicilian lemon-ricotta cheesecake (the only thing I know how to bake reliably) for his birthday a couple years back and of COURSE he returned the pan freshly hardcoated... Because of course he did haha.
For myself, I use NSF rated TyIII hardcoated pots and pans. Hmmm what is the MILSPEC for Sulfuric Hardcoat Anodize / Natural color / Crisco seal? ;)
Like my work bestie, I NEVER wash them down to their original cleanliness! Unsealed hardcoat is neat in that it has microscopic 'pores' in it, and if you let cooking oil really bake on there, it sticks great! I treat them just like cast iron- buff clean with a plastic scouring pad and very hot water, wipe with oil inside and out, and toss on the stove for a couple minutes to dry off and kill germs. My saute pans are pretty darn nonstick at this point! Tomato sauces will strip the grease layer but I use enameled cast iron for those anyway.
Sure, our pots and pans and baking sheets may look horrific, but nothing attacks them, and cookies slide right off with a quick knock on the counter.
So if you don't mind your pots and pans looking scruffy, just give them the ol' baked on oil treatment as approved by two well fed anodizers!

On a more serious note, just a couple facts I'd like to add to this discussion:
-High pH foods and cleaners damage/leach aluminum just as much (and in some cases more) than acids. Dishwasher detergent in a hot dishwasher is chemically similar to the etch tank we run at the shop to strip off old anodic coatings intentionally. Keep all your aluminum out of the dishwasher, always. It will strip anodize, and etch raw aluminum, leaving a grey smutty mess that needs even nastier chemicals to clean off.
-There's a lot of discussion about Aluminum and Alzheimer's. And a lot of it is from questionable sources. But there's also some new and promising research in the form of a recent (and yes, peer-reviewed!) series of studies out of the UK that have been published by the NIH over the last few years. These credibly link Alzheimer's to an immune response to pathogens from periodontal disease, and research is ongoing in this area. It's not only fascinating, but promising for a new approach to prevention and with luck, elimination of this tragic disease!

rachel_mackintosh
Rachel Mackintosh
Lab Rat and some other things - Greenfield, Vermont




sidebar

thumbs up sign Hi to all those who have heard of the metal 'Aluminium'. In this thread I feel I have discovered my own 'dead sea scrolls'.
Ted Mooney's answers and comments are precious in their insight for today's (now 2019) worries and Media distortions of truth.
I am now looking for any links to the Ted Mooney School of 'Finding your way in the soup of life (the crouton of peace)'.
Please let us all know if you do.
We love you Ted and your children and your interior design /choice of clothing/ fried chicken recipe...
I am sure today's worries will still be the same in another generation. Scriptures can help even in a different age.
Good luck.
Robert Stringer
Carer - Huntingdon UK


A. Thanks Robert. I have the world's best job. From the comfort of home I simply post what people write, and then if no one else responds to their questions, I look further into whatever topics they've brought up that interest me -- so yes, 'eclectic' doesn't begin to describe how quickly threads can wonder anywhere & everywhere, leaving me bloviating on a hundred different things :-)
Luck & Regards,
pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Q. My brother purchased a large set of commercial Ever Ware cookware for me back in 1985 and they have been in non-stop use ever since. 14" frying pan is very pitted and has been subjected to industrial steel wool and still cooks like a dream, though fairly warped on the bottom.

Looking to suggest cookware for friends and family and reluctant to recommend anodized due to these observations.

- Calphalon 14" pan cooked more poorly than pure aluminum.
- Discolored
- More expensive
- Leaching?

After reading thread, still unclear about the relative leaching of anodized versus non-anodized. And is it possible that the Calphalon was not indicative of anodized frying pans?

Note: other frying pans for reference:
Ranked: Speed and uniformity of heating.
Non-Stick:Not a factor; don't belabor this, get steel wool

Lodge 12": Poor for daily tasks

All Clad 10" and 12": Acceptable, hot spots, stickiness.

Vollrath 14" non-stick Z4014 (fantastic, but non-stick)

Le Creuset(many): Poor; same as Lodge, hotspots/slow.

L'Atelier du Cuivre 14": Amazing/Poor lol, picked up in Normandy. 2.5mm Copper with Silver lining. Of course fantastic, but afraid to use on a daily basis.


Note 2: Lodge is excellent for searing/heat retention, Sous Vide, which is uncommon in day to day cooking.

Note 3: Le Creuset 9 quart Oval and 8 quart just make me happy for stews/slow cooking.

Note 4: This site seems to be alignment with many of my own observations/experiments. www.cookingforengineers.com/article/120/Common-Materials-of-Cookware
Nils Eliassen
Computer Consultant - New York, New York, USA
December 10, 2019


A. Thanks Nils. Caphalon is a brand name / trade name, not a model number, so your experience with one particular pan with that name may not match my experience with a different one. I received a hard anodized (dark gray) pan as a gift 20 years ago and it remains my favorite.

Certainly a hard anodized pan is a better surface than plain aluminum because it's rock hard, and we do see here some complaints of non-anodized aluminum generating an unattractive black dust. You are welcome to re-address that and 'leaching', but I don't think it makes sense for me to do so myself after 16 years here.

We're not crazy about recommending brands here (why?); although it's perhaps okay for you, as a real person, this is a no-registration required site susceptible to fake reviews from vendors posing as satisfied customers, fake complaints against competitors, and spambots :-)

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


December 12, 2019

thumbs up sign Thanks for your response. I guess the science of the anodization process would make you think that it wouldn't affect the thermal qualities.

As stated, been using steel wool on the 14" aluminum pan for close to 35 years and never was concerned about the black residue, and you don't seem to be either.

With all my more expensive pans, tough to beat the convenience and cooking qualities of aluminum.
Nils Eliassen [returning]
- New York


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