Human bodies can excrete small amounts of aluminium very efficiently. This means that minimal exposure to aluminium is not a problem: the World Health Organisation has established a safe daily intake of 40mg per kilogram of body weight per day. So for a person who weighs 60kg the allowable intake would be 2400 mg.
But most people are exposed to and ingest far more than this suggested safe daily intake. Aluminium is present in corn, yellow cheese, salt, herbs, spices and tea.
It’s used in cooking utensils, as described above, as well as in pharmacological agents like antacids and antiperspirants. Aluminium sulfate, which is derived from aluminium, is used as a coagulant during the purification process of drinking water.
Given all of these proven risks, it’s important to determine the aluminium concentration when cooking.
Pots and other cookware tend to be oxidised, providing an inert layer that prevents the aluminium from leaching into food. The problem is that when you scrub your pots after cooking, that layer is worn away and the aluminium can seep into your food. This is easily avoided: when you get new aluminium pots, boil water in them several times until the base becomes matt. This creates a natural oxidation that prevents leaching. They may look nicer when they’re scrubbed and shiny, but a matt base is better for your food and your health.
Aluminium foil is disposable and you will not be able to create that inert layer prior to using it. My research found that the migration of aluminium into food during the cooking process of food wrapped in aluminium foil is above the permissible limit set by the World Health Organisation.
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