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Abstract

The ingestion of aluminum from food containers such as cookware, cans, utensils and wrappings and its subsequent release into the environment is a growing public health concern. Aluminum is widely used in manufacturing cookware due to its malleability, high heat conductivity, light weight, durability, availability and affordability. This paper therefore gives a review of most relevant literatures on the benefits and risks of the various types of aluminum cookware in use, the composition and the public health effects of aluminum ingestion. Studies that reported the leaching of aluminum from cookware into food and environmental effects of aluminum leaching were also reviewed. In the developing countries, aluminum cookwares are produced from scrap metals and has been reported to leach harmful substances including heavy metals such as: nickel, arsenic, copper, cadmium, lead, and aluminum into cooked food. Several factors have been reported to increase the rate of leaching of metals from aluminum cookwares. Exposure to metals from aluminum cookware and the public health effects have not been well studied, hence, our recommendation for more studies to elucidate the health effect of this practice. This review also presents measures that can limit exposure to the risks that may arise from the use of aluminum cookware.