We’ve all been avidly using aluminum foil for cooking and baking purposes. In fact, it has now become a necessity in most kitchens.
It is commonly used as wrapping to pack kids’ lunch or to line your baking tray while cooking. Whether it’s a large-scale food transportation order or a tiny gathering at home, aluminum foil is used in almost every setting related to food and packaging.
Even though this material is resistant to heat and keeps food fresh due to its impervious nature, it is not as safe as it seems to be.
Here are the top four reasons to eliminate the use of aluminum foil.
1. Potential Health Risks
Aluminum is abundantly present around us in various forms.
While it is usually combined with other elements such as sulfate and phosphate to exist in its natural state, you can find aluminum in small traces in food, water, and air.
Certain foods like mushrooms, radishes, tea leaves, and spinach absorb more aluminum as compared to others. Apart from this, it is also found in processed food, additives, and thickeners.
In fact, certain necessary medications and vaccines also contain traces of this metal.
The amount of aluminum present in the food and absorbed by your body depends on a number of factors such as the soil used to grow the crop, the type of packaging used, absorption ratio, the type of additives used, and the way the food is processed and packaged.
Your body is already used to absorbing and defecating this natural occurrence of aluminum. However, when it increases, it can affect your health.
Also known as tin foil, aluminum is known to cause potential health risks due to an increase in aluminum content in food.
Even though your body absorbs only a fraction of the aluminum you consume, excessive presence of this metal can increase the risk of issues such as Alzheimer’s Disease, in which a person experiences short-term or long-term memory loss.
It is believed that an increase in dietary aluminum intake can also lead to Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD, in which the patient suffers from chronic inflammation in their digestive system.
To avoid these potential health threats, avoid using aluminum foil as the packed food can easily absorb it#, which increases the risk.
2. It is Not Exactly Environmental-friendly
To your surprise, aluminum foil is non-biodegradable and takes time to break down over a prolonged period.
Even though aluminum cans are recycled in most countries, it is not the case with aluminum foils. Since most aluminum foils are dumped with food particles and grains stuck to it, it cannot be successfully recycled.
This is why most aluminum recycling companies refrain from accepting aluminum foil. However, some companies in certain countries accept aluminum foil for recycling.
Before you discard your used aluminum foil, research about such companies in your vicinity or consult your local waste management company.
In case you are unable to find such companies, pick suitable alternatives for aluminum foil.
Suggestions from Puratium.com emphasize using sustainable alternatives such as washable containers that retain heat, silicon wrappers, or glass containers that are reusable.
Even though parchment paper is a sustainable option, it should still be avoided as it can be used just once.
Some parchment papers contain traces of sulfuric acid due to its treatment, which cannot be used for composting.
While silicon is not exactly eco-friendly, it is still a great alternative for aluminum foil and plastic.
The durability and maintenance of this material also make it an ideal choice for food packaging, baking, and storing purposes.
3. Easy to Fracture
Due to its brittle nature, aluminum foil tears easily, which questions its impervious nature.
Even though it forms an excellent barrier that blocks odor, gases, and bacteria from entering your edibles, a tiny hole can ruin the entire package.
This is primarily why most food packages like chip bags and juice boxes are lined with two layers of plastic to protect the aluminum lining in between, which it is able to retain with its impervious and barrier properties.
This, in turn, protects the packaged food from contacting air, germs, or other contaminants.
However, when dealing with huge food orders or deliveries, using aluminum foil can be risky as it can poke holes or contaminate the packaged food.
Firstly, the food will turn cold as soon as it is exposed to air. Secondly, tiny holes may lead to huge fractures, which can potentially create a mess. In rare cases, the reactive nature of aluminum can cause the foil to melt and stick to the packaged food.
4. Poor Acid Resistance
Since aluminum is non-resistant to acid, it gets easily absorbed in acidic food such as lemons and tomatoes. On the contrary, food containing salt or alcohol absorbs less aluminum.
The reaction of aluminum to acidic food is so intense that it aggressively absorbs, dissolves, and mixes aluminum layers. It is believed that adding spices to your food further increases aluminum absorption, which can be dangerous in the long run.
Even though aluminum containers are oxidized, some amount of aluminum still leaches into the cooked food after the container or utensil is washed or scrubbed.
This is because the protective layer wears away, which increases aluminum absorption.
While an aluminum vessel can be oxidized by boiling water and creating a matte finish on its base, aluminum foils cannot be treated likewise. The leaching of aluminum into food is believed to increase when hot food is wrapped in aluminum foil.
These reasons are enough to make you switch to other sustainable and healthier options such as reusable containers and silicon food packages.
Invest in a silicone baking mat to substitute aluminum foil for baking. It can be easily washed and is extremely convenient. Even though these are a bit expensive, it will help you save a lot of money in the long run.
The world is already suffering due to climatic change, and every tiny step towards sustainability will help. Discarding the use of aluminum foil is not only eco-friendly but also helps you maintain your health.