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It is regularly stated that aluminum cooking pans are unhealthy, but I come accross them very often. I see people cooking both alkaline and acid foods in them, scrape them with metal, leave food overnight in them, wrap sandwiches in aluminum foil etc.

How bad is it really?

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Why shall it be unhealthy? –  user unknown Aug 17 '11 at 23:24
    
I am sticking to my trusty cast iron cookware. Save the aluminum for engine blocks and custom wheels. I would assume what may be cooked in the pan is far more un-heathy than what the pan is made of. –  Moab Aug 20 '11 at 4:08
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1 Answer

Here is one reasonably reputable article on the subject: Aluminium & Alzheimer's, ABC Science

The short answer, as far as I can find out, it no, they aren't unhealthy. The article I've referenced gives some history as to where the belief originated.

Here's a quotation of the most relevant part of the article:

Aluminium has had bad press for a long time, mostly beginning around the 1920s. Rudolph Valentino's death in 1926 at the tender age of 31 was blamed on aluminium poisoning from aluminium cookware - but he was actually killed by a perforating stomach ulcer. Howard J. Force, a self-proclaimed "chemist" added momentum to the anti-aluminium movement with pamphlets such as Poisons Formed by Aluminum Cooking Utensils. It was probably not a coincidence that he also sold cookware - stainless steel cookware.

The first scientific "evidence" about aluminium's toxicity appeared in the mid-1970s. People with Alzheimer's Disease have typical changes in the brain that can be seen only with a microscope. They're called "neuro-fibrillary tangles". Various studies found high concentrations of aluminium at autopsy in the brains of people suffering with Alzheimer's Disease - and almost always in the characteristic neuro-fibrillary tangles in the nerves. So, did the aluminium cause Alzheimer's Disease? No. It eventually turned out that the neuro-fibrillary tangles were very "sticky" - and absorbed the aluminium out of the water used to wash them.

As a further references 'Aluminium accumulation in relation to senile plaque and neurofibrillary tangle formation in the brains of patients with renal failure' states:

These data suggest that it is unlikely that aluminium plays any major role in neurofibrillary tangle formation and that its putative role in senile plaque formation is likely to be only part of a complex cascade of changes.

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Can you provide a relevant excerpt for kudos? thanks... –  Sklivvz Aug 17 '11 at 12:36
    
@Sklivvz - done. –  Richard A Aug 17 '11 at 12:42
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thanks, the history part is especially interesting I find. –  ufotds Aug 17 '11 at 16:15
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