Meat Loaf and Aluminum Foil
Name: Thomas N.
I have a fellow employee that likes to bring in prepared
foods for lunch and to share with fellow employees. Often, the fellow
employee brings in meatloaf cooked in a pyrex container covered with
aluminum. It's clear some of the aluminum is dissolved by the tomato
puree or ketchup on top of the meatloaf.
q 1) Where does the aluminum go?
q 2) If it is absorbed into the sauce and meatloaf, is it poisonous?
In general, there is little cause for alarm. Aluminum is not considered to be
very toxic. Are there actually holes in the foil where the acids have eaten it
away? Aluminum foil discolors easily when used as a cooking covering. In
truth, I would probably eat the meatloaf and enjoy the generosity of the
benefactor and camaraderie of the folks sharing the food.
I don't know the motivation for your question. Often such queries are prompted
by concerns regarding Alzheimer's disease (AD). You may be among those who are
concerned that AD patients were found to have unusual aluminum levels in their
brains. However this has not been an established cause-and-effect. Fear
prompts one to assume that aluminum caused the AD condition. Indeed, it could
be the other way around -- that those afflicted with Alzheimer's disease
simply accumulate aluminum in their tissue. Should this be if interest or
concern, consider the following website and the links one can derive from it.
Here is a snippet from the abstract of one research paper on the possible
relationship between AD and aluminum.
Extensive studies of the pathology of AD and Al-induced encephalopathy by our
group and others indicate that Al does not cause Alzheimer's disease
neuropathology. However, under certain conditions, cognition can be affected
when Al enters the brain. Therefore, for individuals with renal failure or
undergoing dialysis or individuals with a damaged blood-brain barrier, the
intake of Al should be controlled.
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Update: June 2012