All the Dangerous Items in your home



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13 Dangerous Household Items You Should Quit Using Immediately

Common items in your home that are putting you at risk :

There are many unknown dangers around our home, most of which we have no control over. In a world of "going green" it's hard to tell which products produce a threat to your health and which are simply natural alternatives. Here's a list of common household items that truly put you and your health at risk.

1. Non-Stick Cookware
While it's nice not to have to soak your pans overnight or scrape off burnt-on food, the ease of non-stick cookware comes with a price—your safety. Polytetrafluoroethylene, the coating that makes products "non-stick" releases gases when heated, all of which have been linked to putting humans at higher risk for cancer and other harmful health effects (many accablant reports available).

2. Flea and Tick Products
Pet's flea and tick products may save your pooch from unwanted bites but due to pesticides it can lead to nerve damage and more.

3. Mothballs
Naphthalene, found in mothballs and products alike, can destroy red blood cells and has been proven to cause cancer in animals but has not yet been proven to cause cancer in humans.

4. Air Fresheners
Toxins found in air fresheners can accumulate in the body over the time. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council those toxins may affect hormones and reproductive health especially in children.

5. Oven Cleaner
Many of these cleaners contain corrosive alkalis, which can have grave effects on your gastrointestinal track and respiratory system if inhaled or ingested.

6. Furniture Polish and Stain
Non-vegetable, oil-based stains and polishes are not only extremely flammable but contain the chemicals phenol and nitrobenzene, which can be absorbed by your skin and can cause skin cancer.

7. Toilet Bowl Cleaner
The corrosive ingredients that make acidic toilet bowl cleaners clean so well are the same ingredients that can cause burns on skin and eyes. They are also extremely dangerous when mixed with other types of cleaners.

8. Gas Space Heaters
Gas powered anything releases toxins and using them indoors is extremely dangerous and can lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning —a condition that presents very little warning symptoms.

9. Cleaning Solutions
As the biggest offenders on the list, and the most commonly used, it's no secret household cleaners contains hazardous toxins. What's most concerning is it's not required for cleaners to list their ingredients on the bottle, leaving consumers in the dark. Even those claiming to be "green" or "natural."

10. Extension Cords
While an extension cord itself isn't dangerous (except for those Made in China with low or fake specs), the way they are commonly used is. Many people don't realize there is a voltage capacity, and plug in as much as they can—creating a huge fire hazard. This, coupled with using warn out cords and running them under furniture and carpets, is why extension cords are a leading cause of fire in the US.

11. Antibacterial Soaps
For many years antibacterial soaps were assumed the "better" way to ward of harmful diseases and bacteria. However the triclosoan and triclorcarbon is actually harmful. According to theFDA, it can be linked to creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria and is not biodegradable.

12. Flaking Paint
Homes built as recently as the late 70s can have interiors covered in lead-based paints—hazardous when the paint starts to flake AND when it's time to repaint. Inhaling these particles can lead tolead poisoning.

13. Flame Retardants
Often found in older couches, mattresses and carpet padding, flame retardant chemicals have been linked to infertility and birth defects.


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15 Dangerous Household Items and Healthier Alternatives

You may have heard in passing that there are dangerous chemicals in household cleaners, or there is a significant lack of proof that antibacterial soap actually benefits the user more than regular soap and water. However, you may not realize just how many items you use in your home can be a danger to you and your family.

Learning about each of the below-mentioned dangerous household items and finding more eco-friendly and family friendly alternatives can go a long way toward keeping your family healthy.

1. Non-Stick Cookware

Why It’s Harmful: Toxic chemicals released from the Teflon coating on non-stick pans, when heated to high temperatures, may kill pet birds and cause flu-like symptoms for humans.

Alternatives: Stainless steel, or cast iron are better alternatives, even though they may require more spray or oil and require more elbow grease to get them clean after use. Ceramic coated cookwares are also safe but are more easily scratched and need special care.

2. Plastic food containers

Why It’s Harmful: Using plastic food containers and microwaving leftovers in these containers, particularly meats and cheeses, can result in the diethylhexyl adipate that is present leaching out into the foods.

Alternatives: Glass or ceramic containers are your best options when considering alternatives for food storage. If you are concerned about utensils, opt for those made of stainless steel or high-heat-resistant nylon.

3. Air fresheners

Why It’s Harmful: Studies have recently found that phthalates are chemicals found in numerous air fresheners. These chemicals, when tested, have been found to cause hormonal disruptions – particularly in children. These are one on a list of pollutants distributed by environmental groups lobbying against the prolific use of air fresheners and odor neutralizers, a business that sees over $1 billion in profits annually in the United States.

Alternatives: Sachets, a pot of boiling water and some aromatic herbs or a water bottle with a spray dispenser and some essential oils all make very viable alternatives for commercially made air fresheners.

4. Cleaning Items

Why It’s Harmful: Corrosive drain cleaners and oven cleaners contain strong chemicals to take care of difficult stains and dirt. The chemicals in these can cause severe burns to the eyes, as well as the throat and esophagus if ingested. Even the fumes from these cleaners can be irritating to the skin, eyes and lungs. In terms of laundry detergents or fabric softeners, the scents added to make them smell better may actually act as irritants to the skin, nose and throat. Read more about household cleaning item toxic here.

Alternatives: There are several environmentally friendly items on the market that avoid the corrosive chemicals and strong scents. Most of these involve vinegar or come from eco-friendly brands like Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer’s and Green Shield.

5. Furniture Polish and Stain

Why It’s Harmful: Furniture polish if ingested can cause throat and/or stomach pain, dizziness, breathing difficulty or even a coma. If it gets into one’s eyes, vision loss can occur. Skin irritation is also a concern. If young children are in the house, the dangers almost outweigh the benefits of shiny furniture.

Alternatives: The simple alternative to this is a half cup of white vinegar and jojoba oil to make your furniture shine just as brightly as commercially made furniture polish.

6. Antibacterial Soaps

Why It’s Harmful: Recent studies have shown that antibacterial soaps contain triclosan, a chemical that has been shown to have potentially harmful effects on individuals. Meanwhile, there is little conclusive evidence that these types of soaps are actually more beneficial than soap and water.

Alternatives: Using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers are better options than antibacterial soaps. At least until there is an additional benefit proven to exist for using these types of soaps, avoiding triclosan is a much better bet.

7. Flame Retardants

Why It’s Harmful: For adults, a concern related to flame retardant chemicals is lower birth weights and fertility problems. For children, studies have shown lower cognitive abilities and attention spans in school environments, due to exposure to flame retardant chemicals.

Alternatives: Currently, while certain flame retardant chemicals have been deemed carcinogens and are being phased out of use, the only option is to focus on the positives of having flame retardants in numerous pieces of furniture or other objects in your home. Shopping for items that do not have a flame retardant warning label may be an option. However, these items will be rare.

8. Antiperspirant

Why It’s Harmful: One primary concern for women who use antiperspirant is the potential risk of breast cancer due to the aluminum compounds used in antiperspirant and deodorant to help combat the amount of sweating you do under your arms. Other concerns for both genders include a danger of Alzheimer’s Disease and concern for individuals who do not have two fully functioning kidneys, both concerns also related to aluminum.

Alternatives: There are aluminum-free deodorants available. These do not combat sweat, but they do help with the odor issues typically causing concern when people use deodorant.

9. Plastic Shopping Bags

Why It’s Harmful: Plastic shopping bags are an environmental hazard to the planet. They do not biodegrade and remain to pollute the environment for decades into the future. Plastic bags also get into the world’s oceans and are the cause of death for thousands of marine mammals each year.

Alternatives: Choose to carry reusable bags for groceries on repeat trips. This cuts down on the pollution to the world’s oceans and environment. Opt to shop at stores that don’t offer plastic bags. Finally, choose to recycle your plastic bags instead of throwing them in the trash.

10. Microwavable Popcorn Bags

Why It’s Harmful: Surprisingly, beyond the fat and calories in microwave popcorn (butter!!!), there are other hidden dangers. For one, burns happen regularly to those who don’t heed the warnings on the bag. Also, there is a chemical that coats the bag that changes during the microwaving process. This chemical, called PFOA, has been labeled a possible carcinogen by the FDA.

Alternatives: Popping kernels with oil in a pan on the stove or via a popcorn popper, bypassing the microwave altogether is the safest way to avoid most of these issues. However, you still have to be careful of the fat and the negative effects of the butter this way.

11. Paper Plates

Why It’s Harmful: The obvious effect of paper plates is on the environment, filling dump sites and adding to pollution. However, in a manner you may not be aware of, paper plates can be dangerous to your health. Using paper plates exposes you and your family to polystyrene and dioxin, which are volatile organic compounds.

Alternatives: The safest alternative to paper plates is china or ceramic plates. They can be used for years and washed for re-use immediately. For those who just aren’t up for this option, there are re-usable paper plates on the market that are dishwasher-safe and not whitened with VOCs.

12. Weed Killer

Why It’s Harmful: Brand name weed killers like Roundup contain glyphosate, which has been proven in numerous recent studies to cause different cancers, infertility issues and even Parkinson’s. This is in addition to environmental problems caused by the chemical.

Alternatives: Other than pulling the weeds, there are simple alternatives that come straight from your kitchen. For example, pour boiling water on weeds to shrivel them. Table salt (or leftover rock salt from winter) can be used on garden paths in the springtime. Avoid using this among your garden plants, however, as it will make the land barren.

13. Laundry Detergent

Why It’s Harmful: Bleach and Nonylphenol Ethoxylate are typically included in commercially-produced laundry detergents. Both of these can be extremely harmful toxins to people and/or animals. The point that is more scary is that companies are not required to list these ingredients on the laundry detergent labels.

Alternatives: Options like Planet Natural Detergent or Ecover Zero Laundry Detergent are environmentally friendly and safer options for your household. If you prefer to make your own, use the following: 2 parts Washing Soda, 2 parts Borax and 1 part Bar Soap.

14. Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Why It’s Harmful: Toilet cleaners actually contain a type of pesticide in order to clean the toilet and eliminate germs. These types of pesticides are called antimicrobial pesticide. These cleaners also include bleach and hydrochloric acid. If mixed with other household cleaners, poisonous gases can result. This can have fatal effects on household members.

Alternatives: Mix ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar. Let mixture sit in toilet for a few minutes. Scrub, then rinse. Mixing 2 parts borax with one part lemon juice also cleans a toilet satisfactorily.

15. Window/glass cleaner

Why It’s Harmful: Brands like Windex, Glass Gleam and Sparkle Glass Cleaner contain chemicals like Ammonia, Ethanol or Isopropyl alcohol. These chemicals, if ingested, can cause severe pain in the lips, eyes, ears, tongue or throat. It can also cause breathing difficulties, dizziness and a coma if it is not dealt with immediately. Read more detail here.

Alternatives: Leave citrus peels in vinegar for a few days or as long as two weeks. Strain out vinegar and use to clean windows.

All of the items noted above may be present in your home. However, their mere presence does not mean you and your loved ones are guaranteed to get cancer or face the other mentioned dangers. Being aware of these potential issues is a huge step toward combating them. Otherwise, shopping for eco-friendly items can further decrease your chances of facing these potentially healthy-impacting consequences.

References :


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Non-Stick Cookware Dangers & Alternatives
August 7, 2014
by Kelly Lynne   

How Dangerous are Teflon Pans

Video not working ? Watch it   >> HERE << 

My ‘Operation Home Detox’ recently overhauled our non-stick cookware ‘situation’.  I was a big user of these pots and pans.  I had them all!  Teflon, Scanpan, Jamie Oliver’s non-stick collection, Bessemer.  I’d spent hundreds of dollars over the years.  And I loved them all before I knew better.

Non-Stick/Teflon (and other similar brands) are the ones with the black smooth coating.  They are also on the non-stick coatings of appliances such as sandwich makers, non-stick grills, waffle makers, etc.  These non-stick coatings have two big problems 1) the toxic fumes they emit when heated, and 2) the little black bits that leach into your food once the surface starts scratching, wearing down and chipping away.

Non-stick cookware is made using a cancer-causing chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, also known as C8), which starts emitting toxic fumes of at least six toxic gases within five minutes every time you cook with a non-stick pot or pan.  These gases are emitted using normal cooking temperatures too such as frying bacon or pre-heating pans to make pancakes, where temperatures often reach 536°F/280° C.

Inhaling PFOA is suspected to cause 1) cancers such as prostate, cervical, uterine, non-Hodgkin’s, leukaemia and multiple myeloma, 2) raised risk of birth defects, 3) ‘Teflon flu’ or ‘polymer fume fever’ where chemicals penetrate the lungs and cause a flu-like illness (plus these fumes can kill your pet bird in seconds), 4) serious changes and toxicity in organs including the brain, prostate, liver, thyroid, and kidneys, 5) higher than normal cholesterol levels.

According to Dr Mercola, ‘The chemical (PFOA) is also extremely hardy in that it stays in the human body for years. According to EWG (Environmental Working Group), even if all new exposures to PFOA were stopped, it would still take 4.4 years for your body to get rid of half of he PFOA that’s accumulated in your organs and tissues’.  Scary or what?  I just don’t think they’re worth the risk.

The worn down, chipped non-stock coatings release even more toxic chemicals and gases.  There’s new debate about the little black flakes chipping off into your food, and hence into your body.  Some experts say these black flakes are carcinogens, others say they can pass through your body unabsorbed.  I prefer not to take the risk !

Besides exposure to these gases (and flakes) after being scratched they lose their non-stick qualities anyway.  When I had my non-stick pans I remember it wasn’t very long before they started breaking down (within a few weeks of buying them despite only using plastic utensils and using gentle heat), which leads me to ask why I even bothered in the first place?  I’m a real sucker for good marketing, that’s why…  Sigh.  After they were scratched they were just like any other ‘non non-stick pan’ to clean as well.  Grumble.  I’m a work in progress!

These are the reasons why I threw out my old teflon coated pans, and replaced them with safer options.

S0, what are the safer options?

Safe Alternatives to Non-Stick/Teflon Style Cookware :

Enamelled Cast Iron

These beautiful pans are best known by the very expensive Le Creuset brand (however much cheaper options are readily available these days).  They are heavy based and retain heat for a long time and are magnificent for cooking things like curries, casseroles,and roasted meals in the oven.  They work on the stove top or in the oven.

To Clean:  Don’t throw cold water into a hot pan!  Let the pan cool down, and then clean with warm/hot soapy water.  Rinse and dry.  Any stubborn food residue can be removed by soaking for 15-20 minutes, or by using a plastic scourer.  These pans can be put in the dishwasher though this dulls the enamel over time.

Cast Iron

I remember my grandpa used one of these to fry an egg every single day!  Cast iron pans have a long history dating back many centuries.  Back in the 70’s when teflon pans came into vogue these old fashioned pans fell out of favour. They were basic looking and heavy to use and the handles could get too hot to handle.  With seasoning (and use) cast iron pans develop a non-stick surface which is part of their magic.  They also can withstand and maintain high cooking temperatures, are slow heat conductors, and an excellent choice for searing or frying.  From a health perspective cast iron pans can leach dietary iron into food.  Highly acidic foods like tomato sauce can strip the seasoned non-stick coating and if you do cook tomato dishes (and high lemon juice dishes, vinegar etc) you’ll need to re-season the pan.

To Clean:  The key to cleaning a cast iron pan is to maintain the seasoning.  They can be simply wiped out (if there is only oily residue), or you can use hot water and a stiff brush, or you can use mild soap and water, dry immediately – then apply a thin coat of oil (I use about a teaspoon of olive oil and a paper towel). Definitely do not put in the dishwasher, and do not use excessive detergent or heavy scouring.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is highly durable, and designed to distribute heat evenly throughout the cooking surface helping maintain a constant temperature, it is also an excellent heat conductor.  Lids form a tight seal on the pots therefore cooking vegetables, rice, and sauces are easy.  Stainless steel tolerates high heat so searing and frying are also easily achieved.  In addition these pans are strong and highly resistant to scratches and dents.  The smooth surface of stainless steel is easily cleaned, and prohibits the absorption of odours and tastes so these pans are great for use between different styles of dishes where previous flavours may be unwelcome (ie. last night’s oily garlic sauce and this morning’s oats for breakfast!).  These pans can last a lifetime too so they are a sound investment.

To Clean:  Use hot soapy water.  They are dishwasher safe. You can scrub vigorously without fear of harming the surface.  If a cooking mishap occurs you can leave to soak and most residue will simply fall off with a gentle wipe.  For more sinister burns (thank you to the last time I cooked chickpea curry and got caught up in a game of candy crush) steel wool does a great job.  They can be air-dried.

Blue Steel/Carbon Steel/Black Steel

Blue steel, carbon steel, black steel; all different names for the same thing.  These pans are much lighter than cast iron pans.  Oh, and cheap to buy too.  Being raw steel they MUST be seasoned before use.  Seasoning protects from rust and provides a natural non-stick coating which gets better with use.  These pans are great for pan roasting, sauteeing, stir frying, searing, frying, or cooking anything buttery or oily.  Again, acidic foods (like tomato sauce) will strip the coating so save tomato sauces, lemon juices and vinegars for your stainless steel pans.

To Clean:  Similar to cast iron pans the key to cleaning a blue steel pan is to maintain the seasoning.  They can be simply wiped out (if there is only oily residue), or you can use hot water and a plastic scourer, or you can use mild soap and water, dry immediately – then apply a thin coat of oil (I use about a teaspoon of olive oil and a paper towel). Definitely do not put in the dishwasher, and do not use excessive detergent or heavy scouring.  Also do not leave to air-dry as they will rust, and you definitely don’t want that !

For further reading:–pfoa


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The Truth About Teflon Pots and Pans and Why Ceramic is Best
February 6, 2015

When choosing cookware, there are a lot of factors to take into account. How easy is it to clean? Does it cook food evenly? Is it non-stick? Non-scratch? These are all common requirements when we’re looking for the perfect pot or pan.

However, there’s an even more important question you should be asking yourself when you decide what kind of cookware to purchase: Is it toxic?

When looking at the two most common non-stick varieties, ceramic and Teflon, both meet the requirements of the first questions, but when it comes to toxicity and safety, Teflon fails big time.

Teflon cookware has been called the ‘worst cookware of all-time,’ and while that may sound a bit extreme, you definitely don’t want to keep it in your kitchen. Teflon, which is the non-stick coating commonly used on cookware, has been shown to produce 15 different toxic chemicals when the temperature of the pan reaches high heats. When some of these polymer fumes are emitted, it can be fatal to birds, and cause flu-like symptoms in humans, sometimes called ‘Teflon Flu.’

It gets worse. One of the main chemicals used in the manufacturing process, called PFOA, has been shown to lead to cancer and birth defects in animals, and may have also led to birth defects in the children of two pregnant workers who worked in a factory producing Teflon in West Virginia. According to Johns Hopkins Medical School, PFOA is now found in some quantity in the bloodstream of 95 percent of Americans.

Although the company that invented and manufactures Teflon, DuPont, maintains that these harmful chemicals are only released when the pan is misused and becomes overheated—which is true—why would you even want to take the risk? Busy, multi-tasking people leave the pan on for too long and forget to turn down the temperature all the time. Furthermore, the pan can be up to 200 degrees hotter than the food inside it, so it’s very hard to monitor the actual temperature.


Fortunately, you don’t need to go through the trouble, as new ceramic cookware comes with all of the same benefits of Teflon—without the potential for scary health side effects. These pans are safer in the sense that they don’t contain PFOA, more durable and versatile because they can withstand higher temperatures, and longer-lasting provided you take care of them according to instructions.

Taking care of ceramic cookware properly means :

  -  Regularly renewing the surface by rubbing a small amount of coconut oil into the pan and wiping off the excess with a paper towel.
  -  Washing them by hand. Nothing like high heat and strong detergents to wear down your cookware. Use a gentle detergent of baking soda and water, and scrub your pots and pans with a soft, non-metallic sponge.
  -  Not using metal utensils or cleaning tools. Stick to wooden utensils, as metal will scratch off the surface of your pots and pans.

We hope this information makes your cooking easier, your cleaning quicker, and your home safer!

-The Alternative Daily



Non-Stick Cookware Kills Another Parrot !
 June 1st, 2012
By Patty

Earlier this week, I heard about yet another parrot death following exposure to the toxic fumes of non-stick cookware. This death is particularly frustrating because this owner HAD heard the warnings, but didn’t take them seriously.

It astonishes me that some people still aren’t aware of this danger (for both birds AND humans) in this day and age, and it makes me wonder what we are doing wrong that the information is not reaching everyone.

But, what are you to do when someone DOES have the knowledge and chooses to disregard it? For anyone who thinks this is overcautious drama, please read the next paragraph very carefully:

If your bird is exposed to the toxic PTFE or PFOA fumes emitted by certain non-stick coatings like teflon, it is likely to die an excrutiating death as it suffocates in the fluids its lungs rapidly produce to protect themselves. The vast majority of birds die from acute edematous pneumonia before they reach the vet. Those with minor exposure that manage to survive suffer with lifelong health repercussions from the event.

This matter must be taken very seriously and information must be shared so that no more birds have to die in this horrible manner.



PTFE stands for polytetrafluoroethylene. It is known by the brand name Teflon. Exposure to PTFE fumes causes flu-like symptoms in humans and almost certain death in birds because of their sensitive respiratory systems.

A big misconception is that Teflon only offgasses at high temperatures. The manufacturers of Teflon (DuPont) originally defended their product by saying that one had to leave a pan on the burner over high heat in order for it to offgas. This claim has been proven false: they offgas at lower temperatures, enough to kill a bird.

The Environmental Working Group (in 2003) stated that nonstick coatings “could reach 700 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 3-5 minutes, releasing 15 toxic gases and chemicals, including two carcinogens.”


PFOA stands for perfluorooctanoic acid (also known as C-8), a petroleum based product. It is a carcenogenic chemical used to bond the nonstick coating to the pan. Low levels of PFOA can be found in the blood stream of 9 out of 10 Americans and in their newborns.

The DuPont company, again in trouble with the EPA, was fined with the largest penalty in the agency’s history ($10.25 million) for holding back information about the toxicity of PFOA for many years. DuPont recently announced their intentions to phase out PFOA by 2015. But they haven’t proven to be very forthcoming about their practices so far, so I wont be trusting their intentions any time soon.


Green cookware, also known as “eco-friendly”, is cookware that is safe for the environment (including the environment in your home). Green is a HUGE word in the marketing world today and many things are referred to as “green” without having any real right to that claim. Buyer beware.

One common “greenware” is ceramic. Ceramic coating is the basis for Thermolon, and the coating used in “GreenPan”. The jury is still out on this product. Thermolon initially claimed the use of nanotechnolgy in its product recipe, but they later denied the claim blaming it on “over-enthusiastic copywriters” who thought it sounded cool. I guess no one in the company is reading the press releases – OR they are just another manufacturer which cant be trusted. Take your pick. A few recent studies have questioned the safety of the use of nanotech in cookware, perhaps that had something to do with their need to come clean.

Congo african grey

The bottom line with “green” cookware is that it is still evolving and we will be learning as we go. We have options available now that may not be perfected just yet, but aren’t going to kill your bird. If non-stick makes you nervous, stainless steel, cast iron and glass are available as options.

When you are selecting a non-stick brand, make sure it is listed as PTFE AND PFOA free. And let’s not let any more birds die because of our bad choices.

Useful link :
The Dangers of Teflon/PTFE for Birds (PDF)


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Rethinking Aluminum Foil
July 9, 2013
By Nichole

Sometimes in life we get tired of hearing about all the things we should change, and as a result we hold on too tightly to things we should be setting free. I was not aware of the dangers of aluminum foil. I am afraid that I may have held on a little too tightly.

Oh, dear aluminum foil. I am afraid that in my home I may have held on a little too tightly.

Aluminum foil is easy. I use it in the kitchen to cover dishes that don't have lids. It holds food on the barbecue. And it makes food preparation and clean-up super easy when camping. Who doesn't wrap something up and shove it in the campfire coals? As the camping season began and I pulled out my camping menus, I realized how much I was dependent on that convenient aluminum foil.

Sigh. I suppose it was time to take another look.

The Dangers of Aluminum Foil

When I gear up to do some investigative research, the teacher in me always feels like singing, “Let’s start at the very beginning… a very good place to start”. So I decided the first thing I needed to do was find out how aluminum foil was made. That seems to be a great way to discover if I should be eating something, so why not apply the same rule here?

How’s it made?

I discovered that during the process of making aluminum foil various oils are sprayed on it to keep it from sticking in the roll. That made me feel a bit uneasy. And like I had missed something a little too obvious.

Aside from that, they pretty much just flatten huge sheets of purified aluminum. For fun, you can check out an educational video of how aluminum foil is made by visiting this episode on Youtube

How It's Made : Aluminium Foil

Video not working ? Watch it   >> HERE << 

Sometimes in life we get tired of hearing about all the things we should change, and as a result we hold on too tightly to things we should be setting free. I was not aware of the dangers of aluminum foil. I am afraid that I may have held on a little too tightly.

Is it safe ?

Yes. When using it cold. When tested cold, as in wrapping a sandwich in the fridge, there was no evidence of aluminum leaching into the food. Using it hot, or even warm, was a different situation.

In every situation tested, heated aluminum foil degraded and leached into the food that was cooking.

I was devastated! In food wrapped in foil, in foil bakeware, and to my extreme disappointment, even in a pan covered by foil — the dangers of aluminum foil were present.

The levels of aluminum leached are significantly higher if the food actually touches the foil, if the food is acidic, or even if spices are added. But those factors are not required. The hotter the heat, the more leaching that occurs. And it doesn’t matter which side of the foil the food is exposed to (supposedly some have a side that is dull, though I have never noticed).

So is this something to worry about?

There are quite a few sources of aluminum in average, day-to-day exposure.

Thanks to antacids, vaccines, antiperspirants, and drinking water, most people are already getting a hefty dose of aluminum. Cooking in aluminum pans or using aluminum foil just increases the exposure.

What's wrong with increased exposure? Aluminum interferes with the digestion of calcium, phosphorus, and fluoride, and can even result in osteoporosis. It damages the liver, and impairs the kidneys. It is linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons. It leads to colic, sleep disturbance, anemia, and speech problems.

What are the alternatives?

Luckily there are a large range of aluminum-free cooking and bakeware on the market. Cast iron, enameled cast iron, or glass are all great options for the kitchen. If you are looking to avoid the dangers of aluminum foil and aluminum entirely, you will also have to be careful of stainless steel. Layers of stainless steel can be bonded with aluminum.

If, like me, you are used to covering your dishes with aluminum foil, it will take investing in covered bakeware. Don’t forget your covered cast iron casserole dishes as well.

Rethinking Aluminum Foil

For camping, I have begun packing my cast iron dutch oven. Cast iron can go directly into the fire and makes for easy camping clean up. I have found it to be a great alternative to those foil dinner packets that we used to shove down in the coals. Avoid the temptation of lightweight aluminum packware and instead invest in stainless steel for these outings. (Though if you are backpacking, it could certainly be heavy for hauling.)

And as for the barbeque, seasoned cast iron is still an option. If you are looking to barbeque something without putting it directly on the grill, there are a variety of grill top bowls and baskets made from stainless steel or wire. Be sure to watch out for non-stick coatings.

Will I use aluminum foil anymore?

As for aluminum foil in my kitchen, I can’t see myself purchasing and using foil just to wrap and store food in the fridge. And due to chemical and food sensitivities in the home, I need to consider the oil it is treated with during production. That leaves me needing a few pieces of covered bakeware.

I think I will be hitting the thrift stores to remedy that! Not buying aluminum foil will save me money in the long run, lower our exposure to aluminum, and reduce what I contribute to landfills. The alternatives are all reasonable and acceptable adjustments for me.


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