Does aluminum foil cause deadly diseases? No, there's no evidence that's true: This claim distorts a study that looks at the risks of using aluminum foil in food preparation. Although the study found that cooking with aluminum foil can leach aluminum into food and may pose health risks, it did not say that such foil is the cause of deadly diseases. One of the study's authors subsequently wrote that "Scientists are exploring whether over-exposure to aluminium may be posing threats to human health."
The claim that aluminum increases the risk for heart attacks and strokes, among other health problems, appeared in a Facebook post published on September 15, 2022. The post read:
These Dєαdlу Diseases Are All Caused by Aluminum Foil, and You Haven't Probably Known
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Sep 16 14:46:03 2022 UTC)
Directly below the post is a link to a story that echoed the post's claim about aluminum foil. The story cited "Esam Zubaidi, a researcher of chemical engineering at the Sharjah University," but did not link to any study.
Lead Stories located the 2012 study on which the story apparently was based. Published by the International Journal of Electrochemical Science, the study's listed authors include "Essam Al Zubaidy," associated with the American University of Sharjah. http://www.electrochemsci.org/papers/vol7/7054498.pdf
Significantly, the International Journal of Electrochemical Science report does not say that aluminum foil causes deadly diseases. The research is much more measured.
As its title states, the study simply looked at the risks of using aluminum foil in food preparation. It found that cooking with aluminum foil can leach aluminum into food, especially with acidic or spicy foods cooked at high temperatures. The study did conclude that it is "possible that excessive consumption of food baked with aluminum foil may carry a serious health risk," but it stopped far short of saying that aluminum foil is the cause of any deadly disease.
Lead Stories contacted the main author of the study, Ghada Bassioni, a professor of chemistry at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, to ask about the post's claim. We will update this story, as appropriate, if we receive a response.
Bassioni, head of the chemistry department at An Shams University's Faculty of Engineering, wrote about the study in a subsequent article published by The Conversation in 2016. Based on her research, she recommended that people not use aluminum foil for cooking, although she also noted:
Scientists are exploring whether over-exposure to aluminium may be posing threats to human health.
Indeed, other studies, such as this one published by Food Science & Nutrition in 2019, reached similar conclusions -- that many foods baked in aluminum foil show aluminum contamination, but the contamination is "not alarming." The Food Science & Nutrition study authors added, however, that the "revealed aluminum contents can represent a risk for younger/smaller children and for individuals with diagnosed certain ailments."
Additional Lead Stories fact checks related to food contamination can be found here.