The first thing that steered my mind to this topic was my visit to Tower Aluminum premises at No. 9, Oba Akran Ikeja, Lagos State - Nigeria. Since then, I have been meaning to write it but kept putting it off due to other time-bound stories.
The company had one of its promotions going on and I had gone with four aluminum tower pots to fix their handles back. Apart from the handles, the pots which I bought from them some years back had no other issue.
However, I got a surprise when one of their amiable lady managers who attended to me in one of their back offices, after examining the pots, condemned two, advising me to get rid of them as they were expired and as such not fit to contain foods intended for consumption.
In fact, she called the pots health hazards, advising me to trade them in, or throw them away.
Surprised, I stared at her doubtfully. I mean, I have never heard of aluminum or any kind of cooking pots being expired. In my 79 years old mother’s kitchen, you’re bound to see pots older than all her children and yet she is still using them to cook delicious meals.
Health hazard? I wondered aloud. “Yes”, concurred the woman who pleaded anonymity, looking me straight in the eye.
When aluminum cookware is used well over a period of five years, the tendency is that aluminum from the pots starts leeching into the food, when the food is being cooked or left in the pot over time.
You have made jollofrice in the pot but inadvertently you end up eating the rice with loads of aluminum mixed with it. It is even worse, when fresh leafy vegetables or tomato which is quite acidic is cooked in the pot because they absorb aluminum the most.
Clarifying further, she said new aluminum cookware has no problem but after a while due to wear and tear occasioned by scouring and other wrong handling, aluminum leeches into food.
The only poison that can leach into food by cooking with aluminum cookware is the aluminum itself. The reason this became a concern is that large amounts of the material have been found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, which proves that aluminum crosses the blood/brain barrier. This does not establish a causal link, which would be needed to say definitively that aluminum in the brain causes Alzheimer’s disease.
But one may wonder if the leeching from cooking pots and pans is limited to only aluminum products. No, but we are particularly concerned because aluminum cookware is about the most popular and the reason is not farfetched. It is cheap and conducts heat very effectively
However, we can also ingest aluminum from other sources. The environment provides many sources of aluminum beyond cookware. It occurs naturally in soil and can be absorbed by produce grown there. In addition, aluminum is added to many consumer goods, including antacids, hemorrhoid medication and other over-the-counter medicines; baking powder; boxed cake mixes; deodorants and antiperspirants; douches; processed cheese; pickles; toothpaste; and table salts, to name just a few. In other words, it’s nearly impossible to lead an aluminum-free life!.
The body derives no benefits from aluminum, and in large quantities, it is harmful. The question then is one of quantity. If the food is not highly acidic or basic on the pH scale, less leaching occurs. “Leaching is most likely when the foods being cooked or stored are highly basic, like baking soda, or highly acidic, like tomato sauce, lemon juice, oranges or vinegar,” according to the Tree Hugger website. In the case of tomato sauce, 3 to 6 milligrams of aluminum have been found per 100 g servings after being cooked in an aluminum pan. This is approximately 10 percent of the aluminum the average person consumes in a day.
About 99 percent of ingested aluminum is excreted by the kidneys, except in patients with renal failure, in which aluminum retention within the body is responsible for “dialysis dementia.” In addition, dialysis patients often suffer from anemia and a specific form of metabolic bone disease, both due to aluminum retention.
Aluminum is on the “2007 list of top priority toxins in the United States (a list put out every year by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry), and aluminum has been clearly identified as a toxin for the human nervous system, immune system and genetic system.”
Aside from glass, stainless steel, modern enamel (which is cadmium-free) and iron, there is anodized aluminum. Anodization is a process by which aluminum is treated with a nonreactive hard coating of aluminum called aluminum oxidation, which does not leach, but it might still be prudent to avoid storing tomato sauce and other acidic substances in any aluminum vessel. Care should also be taken to discard aluminum ware that is damaged in any way, which can happen even with the anodized version.
Research indicates that we consume about 10 milligrams from food cooked in aluminum cookware daily but the good news is that the World Health Organisation[WHO], estimates that adults can consume more than 50 milligrams of aluminum daily without harm.
Sources: WWWN, HWN AFRICA, THENATIONNG.
posted : 2016-07-18 02:48:46 | views: 1395