Is Aluminum Foil Safe?

Here's what you should know.

By Libby Callaway
Roll of aluminum foilQuentin Bacon

Is aluminum in the kitchen bad for your health? Rest easy: Though results aren't entirely conclusive, the overwhelming consensus is that there's little cause for worry.

One concern has been that foil use might contribute to the buildup of aluminum found in the brains of some Alzheimer's patients. "Aluminum has neurotoxic properties, but no direct link to human neurodegenerative disease has been established," says Jean Harry, Ph.D., a toxicologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Harry also says any leaching from utensils, pans, and foil accounts for only a fraction of the amount considered safe to ingest daily through food, drinking water, and pharmaceuticals (some antacids contain aluminum; so does most buffered aspirin).

As for the possibility that aluminum is a carcinogen: It's not classified as one by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program. Ted Gansler, M.D., director of medical content for the American Cancer Society, says, "From the perspective of cancer risk, I don't see a single reason to be concerned about aluminum foil."

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