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I've been reading some articles on the internet about dangers of Teflon and aluminium to the body.

My family say I'm just exaggerating the situation, and maybe I am, though I'm not sure because not everything on the internet is true. They always tell me that if aluminium were dangerous then why would the government allow the use of aluminium bottles in drinks.

Are there strong references and facts to support dangers associated with aluminium or Teflon cookware? If aluminium or other chemicals enter the body from cookware, are they naturally eliminated, or do they remain in the body?

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I was recently taught in a module on chemical toxins that the Al in deodorants was more concerning because it was more readily being absorbed in the blood and that heavy deodorant users had higher circulating levels of Al in the blood. I'm looking into actual sources now. This question may also need some rephrasing to be sure it is not a personal health question. –  Atl LED Jul 19 '13 at 18:57
I think that teflon that is still teflon is pretty darned chemically inert... the dangers are in teflon that has been damaged by heat and in the production of teflon which uses horrible chemicals... also Al metal is less dangerous than Al+3 compounds... and even then, most aren't soluble at all, but some give good routes to ingestion especially antacids. –  Grady Player Jul 19 '13 at 19:01
@Daniela Diaz, I've edited the question so as to make it more useful to other users, and taken a stab at answering it below. I hope the edited question still reflects your intentions. –  Oreotrephes Jul 22 '13 at 8:18
@Oreotrephes Your edition is perfect. Thanks so much. –  Daniela Diaz Jul 22 '13 at 8:48
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2 Answers

The US Department of Health and Human Services has a nice set of factsheets on aluminum. In brief, and to specifically answer your questions, they point out that:

  • Aluminum occurs naturally in air, water, soil, and plants.

  • The amounts of aluminum that we encounter in pots and pans are considered to be safe for healthy people. Cooking acidic foods in aluminum pots increases the amount ingested, but is still considered to be safe; and it still represents many times less aluminum than in over-the-counter antacids, which are also considered safe.

  • Much of the aluminum we ingest leaves ones body naturally through the digestive system (that is, feces), and is not taken up into the bloodstream. The small amount of aluminum that makes it to our bloodstream is mostly quickly eliminated in urine. Those with kindey problems may not process this bloodstream aluminum as quickly.

Nonstick pan coatings are a little more difficult, probably because they're so diverse. Cookware isn't even mentioned as a source on the factsheet for perflouroalkyls, the chemical which has been mentioned in connection with nonstick pan health issues. The US Environmental Protection Agency FAQ says:

Consumer products made with perfluorochemicals include some non-stick cookware ... Consumer products made with fluoropolymers and fluorinated telomers, such as Teflon and other trademark products, are not PFOA. PFOA is used as a processing aid in the manufacture of fluoropolymers and can be also be produced by the breakdown of some fluorinated telomers [NB. I assume they mean overheating nonstick pans]. The information that EPA has available does not indicate that the routine use of consumer products poses a concern.

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This is one of the articles I read: globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/… It contains some references and basically my concern is the part where it says that aluminium accumulates in different parts of the body and it causes problems with calcium absorption and demineralization, and also that is bad for the brain. –  Daniela Diaz Jul 22 '13 at 8:47
Well, it's always good to see citations. However, I would approach with a cautious eye any article that ends with an appeal to buy a product from the author. –  Oreotrephes Jul 22 '13 at 8:55
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Aluminium vessels can be used as a container. You should not use it for cooking purpose (exposed to over heat).

We are grace about the non stickiness of Teflon. But still, when heated to a high temperature, it is harmful.

Use Iron pans, Copper bottomed vessels (Chefs prefer them), mud pots (if possible) which are completely safe.

Explain your family that in olden days, there was no additional pollution human being suffered from. But now we are exposed to multiple pollution and hence even a vessel which we use for cooking is important.

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Can you please link to proper sources for all of that? Specifically the bit about overheating sounds new to me. I thought the problem with cooking was more about the acids (see for instance: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3948402 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8445293 although you can probably find better refs) –  nico Jul 22 '13 at 7:22
@ArunchunaivendanPugazh Chefs prefer copper pots purely because of the better conductivity. I also can not find any scientific research which actually backs up your claims of Teflon or aluminium pans affecting health - they are stable forms of the material so unlikely to enter our diet in substantial levels that way. The aluminium links to health problems are more likely linked to addition of aluminium based chemicals to food and drink, e.g. aluminium sulphate in to drinking water. –  GriffinEvo Jul 22 '13 at 8:00
Read WIKI, especially Health Section! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-stick_pan –  Arunchunaivendan Pugazhendi Jul 22 '13 at 15:42
@GriffinEvo - I agree. But i dint say that Chefs prefer CU bottomed vessel only for safety. It is a common sense that CU has good conductivity. I still claim that there is a problem with Al. whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=dailytip&dbid=92. CU is not a problem until unless the y are used in the bottom of the vessel. –  Arunchunaivendan Pugazhendi Jul 22 '13 at 15:52
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