Is It Safe To Put Aluminum Foil In A Slow Cooker?

Many easy slow cooker recipes advise lining the appliance with aluminum foil for easier cleaning, more evenly cooked meat, and easy transfer of larger items such as roasts or lasagnas (per HuffPost). However, questions have been raised about the safety of cooking with aluminum foil. There are some alleged health concerns related to too much aluminum in one's diet, ranging from kidney disease to Alzheimer's. Moreover, the transfer of aluminum from the foil to your food to your body, known as "leeching," has been associated with bone, brain, muscle, and tissue concerns. While leeching isn't always an issue when storing or wrapping food in aluminum foil, one 2012 study did find that high temperatures, salt, and acidic ingredients can increase the risk of leeching.

With this information, should you still use aluminum foil in a slow cooker, or is it too much of a health risk? Is this an old kitchen "hack" that might need to be discarded for safety's sake?

Is aluminum foil a health risk?

According to Healthline, aluminum exists all around us already, even inside our foods. Fruits, veggies, meats, and dairy all contain some aluminum. However, these small amounts of aluminum are rarely absorbed by our bodies and the aluminum passes through our systems with ease. Yes, high aluminum levels have been discovered in Alzheimer's patients, but there's no scientific link that has been found between aluminum intake and Alzheimer's development. Instead, Healthline indicates that aluminum foil usage and the presence of any sort of disease seems to be a case of correlation, not causation.

Still, there are some things you can do to reduce your aluminum intake. Medical News Today points out that some of the more significant sources of aluminum exposure are actually from beauty products and cosmetics, not food, so if this is a concern for you, check your deodorant and makeup for aluminum before use. Additionally, you can avoid preparing particularly acidic or salty foods with aluminum foil. For the time being, there's no concrete evidence to suggest you should stop using aluminum foil in your slow cooker altogether.