According to a study published by the International Journal of Electrochemical Science, you may want to think twice before wrapping your food in aluminum foil to cook it — because some of that foil will leach into your meal.
“Aluminum foil used in cooking provides an easy channel for the metal to enter the human body,” concludes the study, which examined the effect foil has on a variety of different foods when used to prepare them.
The human body is wired to excrete small amounts of aluminum quite efficiently, so minimal exposure to the metal isn’t a concern. The World Health Organization (WHO) has even established daily intake levels of aluminum that have been shown to cause no harm.
“But most people are exposed to and ingest far more than this suggested safe daily intake,” said Ghada Bassioni, one of the study’s researchers, in a recent article.
This is due, in part, to the fact that aluminum — the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust — is found in a wide range of foods and spices. But it’s also used in cooking utensils. Pots and pans, for instance, are lined with aluminum. Most are oxidized to prevent the metal from leaching into food, but, according to Bassioni, this process becomes increasingly negated over time as people scrub their utensils after meals.