I have often wondered if using aluminum foil as a screen in homemade pipes had any effect on humans.
When it comes to being innovative, cannabis users take the cake. When confronted without a way to smoke their weed stoners can become very creative. My friends and I used to take an aluminum can, dent it in the middle and poke some holes into it. The pot would be placed on the holes, lit and inhaled through the area you drink from. I know I had to have done that at least 20 times. We would smoke out of apples more than anything. We'd start by coring a hole in the middle, making another hole to connect them both together and inhaling through the hole leading to the core. We'd use aluminum foil as a screen. Less frequently, we'd made pipes out of empty toilet paper rolls by making a hole in the top and putting foil in the hole to make a screen. Looking back there's no way that it could have been healthy.
I don't use foil as screens or smoke from a can anymore but I use foil to cook food on and I was concerned that it might not be a good thing to do since altzimers disease is possibly caused by aluminum. I recently switched to parchment paper, I really like it and after doing some research I'm glad I did. Here's what I discovered....
We do not recommend cooking or storing food in aluminum foil - even though there is no strong scientific evidence showing these practices to be harmful to your health. We have three reasons for making this recommendation. First, even though research studies don't show the food use of aluminum foil to be harmful, they clearly show migration of small amounts of aluminum from the foil into the food. For example, in one study conducted in Italy about 2-6 milligrams of aluminum was found to move over into food from aluminum foils, cookware, and utensils. Even if this amount has not been show to pose health harm, we don't like our food containing a potentially problematic metal that wasn't naturally supposed to be there.
Second, we believe that the jury is still out on aluminum with respect to chronic long-term health problems. (We're talking here about exposure to aluminum from all sources, including the environment, certain workplace settings, personal care products, etc.) Potential connections have been found between certain cancers and aluminum exposure, and also between aluminum exposure and Alzheimer's disease. Infertility connections have also been found. We don't see any reason to add potential exposure through the use of aluminum foil with food.
Finally, we don't like the consequences of aluminum foil manufacturing for our planet. Aluminum remains on the federal government's list of priority toxins for the United States, and its mining, manufacture, and post-use disposal pose significant problems for our environment. From our perspective, while aluminum foil is definitely lightweight, flexible, and convenient, these upsides don't come close to outweighing the downsides here.
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- Lopez FE, Cabrera C, Lorenzo ML, et al. Aluminum levels in convenience and fast foods: in vitro study of the absorbable fraction. Sci Total Environ 2002;300(1-3):69-79. 2002.
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Here's an excerpt from another article on using foil on the outdoor grill...
The answer seems to be a slight yes. Cooking with aluminum foil has been shown to create numerous cracks and flakes in the surface of the aluminum foil as demonstrated with electron microscopy. Moreover chemical leaching of aluminum into food occurs with greater ease when food contains acidic properties such as lemon juice or spices.
Excessive aluminum in the body has been associated with health problems, but the evidence is patchy and not necessarily convincing. According to the CDC, high levels of aluminum have been associated with Alzheimer’s in some clinical studies, though this remains controversial as the disease is thought to be multifactorial, and cause and effect has not been established.
Inhalation of aluminum dust in an occupational setting (i.e. not just grilling) has been implicated in the development of respiratory problems and even pulmonary fibrosis in some studies, but not in others, according to OSHA.
High levels of occupation aluminum exposure have been correlated with neurological declines in balance, coordination, and memory.
Oral aluminum exposure has been associated with reproductive toxicity.
It has not been classified a carcinogen
I read enough to convince me that I am not using foil anymore and will continue buying parchment paper.. I would rather buy parchment paper made from hemp but until that happens I'll use what is available now...
I hope this convinces a few people to stop using foil....