The potential dangers of using aluminium foil

In a 2012 article published in the International Journal of Electrochemical Science, researchers from Ain Shims University in Egypt warned that the use of aluminium foil when cooking and storing food could be harmful to our health. Research has shown that small amounts of the foil can leach into food – especially when the food is exposed to high temperatures.

Dr Ghada Bassioni writes that “human bodies can excrete small amounts of aluminium very efficiently,” but that “most of us get exposed to and ingest far more than what our bodies can handle.” According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the tolerable daily intake of aluminium is one milligram for every kilogram of body weight. Past research has shown that high concentrations of aluminium have been detected in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients, and that high levels of aluminium intake may be harmful to some patients with renal impairments of bone disease. Bassioni continues, “the aluminium health effects are far too vast to even be summarised.”

While wrapping cold food in aluminium seems to have a negligible effect on the levels of aluminium present in the food, it is when cooking food (especially at high temperatures) that drastic increases in aluminium occur. The raw data of the study indicated that variables such as the fat content of meat, cooking processes involved affect the migration of aluminium from the foil to the meat. When the foods being tested were particularly spicy or acidic, the amount of aluminium present increased significantly.

For those worried about any dangers surrounding the use of aluminium cookware or baking dishes, it is important to note that these items usually undergo an oxidisation process during manufacturing. This inert layer will prevent the aluminium from leaching into your food.

In the conclusion, Bassioni writes that “aluminium foil is not suitable for cooking specially with acidic food. It is also possible that excessive consumption of food baked with aluminium foil may carry a serious health risk.”

Given what this report has found, will you rethink the way you cook food for yourself and your family? Or do you already avoid foil for another reason entirely?

This article was made in partnership with Over60.