Illegal Cookware???

June 16, 2010

A consumer wrote today:

I purchased a solid Aluminum pot sold at a Mexican grocer.  I was first using it when my mom read the label and said it was solid aluminum and can seep into food causing health problems.  When I explained this to Durango, they refused to return it saying I had used it and it couldnt be resold.  I left.  My point is it should not be resold it is dangerous.  Is it illegal in U.S. to sell solid aluminum cookware?

Our response was as follows:

It is not illegal to sell solid aluminum cookware in the U.S.  Aluminum does not “seep” into food cooked in aluminum. I’m hesitant to disagree with anyone’s mother, but rumors continue to circulate, as they have since the early 1920s, when aluminum cookware was initially introduced, that aluminum causes health problems–everything from stomach cancer to, most recently, Alzheimer’s disease.  Prior to 1960s, when nonstick coatings were introduced by DuPont, all aluminum cookware was solid aluminum.  Additionally any small amounts (I am talking about parts per million here) that might be absorbed by food cooked in aluminum is less than one is exposed to in antiperspirants (aluminum salts), medicines (anticaking agents) and foods which grown in the ground (potatoes, carrots, beets).  The FDA has stated that aluminum cookware is safe to use.

Typical cast aluminum pan--made in South America

Overwhelming cookware produced in Mexico, central and South America is straight aluminum, much of it cast product which performs quite well due to its thickness and even heating.

We never recommend storing acidic foods in aluminum–or any cookware for that matter since reactions can affect the taste of the food.

Here’s what Dr. John Messmer says on “

Very little of the aluminum we ingest comes from cookware. In a worst case scenario, a person using uncoated aluminum cookware and storing all food in aluminum containers is likely to absorb about three or four milligrams of aluminum a day.

Medication is probably the greatest source of aluminum in our diets. Antacids contain aluminum. In the days before effective medications for acid suppression, a person with acid reflux might consume 1,000 milligrams of aluminum daily.