Aluminum Grinder Health Concerns
The big concern with aluminum grinders is the potential health hazard they pose if the material they’re made from, aluminum, contaminates what you’re grinding as inhaling aluminum is by no means healthy. While the health implications are many, aluminum inhalation in particular poses some very serious health risks. To quote a public health statement issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), workers inhaling “large amounts of aluminum dusts can have lung problems, such as coughing or changes that show up in chest X-rays.” Given that this is the case, poorly constructed aluminum grinders do pose a potential health risk and a serious one at that.
“Workers who breathe large amounts of aluminum dusts can have lung problems, such as coughing or changes that show up in chest X-rays. The use of breathing masks and controls on the levels of dust in factories have largely eliminated this problem. Some workers who breathe aluminum-containing dusts or aluminum fumes have decreased performance in some tests that measure functions of the nervous system.”
In light of the potential health risks involved with using an aluminum grinder, some users opt instead for grinders constructed from a more favorable material for this application, titanium. So why titanium? The answer is simple: it’s about 60-percent denser and roughly twice as strong as aluminum. So the logic here is that it’s much less likely to create shavings which could contaminate your blend and pose a risk to your health.
Is The Concern Credible?
Yes. Absolutely. Speaking from experience, we have seen aluminum mixed in with our blend when using certain aluminum grinders. While this seems to be true more often with cheap grinders, we’ve even seen it with well known brands such as SharpStone. To be specific, SharpStone either currently or used to manufacture at least one model of grinder with a clear/transparent top. Instead of having the teeth on the transparent lid machined from the same piece as the lid itself, the teeth are connected by an adhesive. Subsequently, we found one of these teeth mixed in with our blend and a very unpleasant experience ensued. As a result, we advise all of you to be weary of grinders with clear tops and metal teeth. Now while we did have this particularly unpleasant experience with a SharpStone grinder, we do want to make the point that we’re actually quite fond of SharpStone grinders. This was a bad experience with one of their models of grinders in particular and it should by no means be misconstrued into the notion that their grinders aren’t good because for the most part, their grinders are incredible. For that matter, even their aluminum grinders are solid, with the exception of the ones with the transparent lids that allow you to see the blend as it’s being ground.
So What Are My Options?
Your best bet is to either go with a high-end aluminum grinder from one of the reputable brands like the aluminum 4 piece grinder by Space Case, ideally purchased through an authorized outlet so you know it’s real, or to go with a titanium grinder. The high-end aluminum ones are likely a bit cheaper as the titanium grinders are all fairly pricey, which isn’t all that much of a surprise given how much more difficult and costly it is to work with titanium in comparison to aluminum. But if you’re really concerned with the potential health implications associated with aluminum ones, your best bet is to stick with a titanium one, even though they are a bit more expensive. Another reason to choose a titanium grinder over an aluminum one, potential health risks aside, is the fact that it’ll last longer than its aluminum counterpart thanks to increased durability.
The Best Grinder
Finding the best grinder is no easy task, which is why we’ve dedicated a section of our website to grinder reviews. In it, we rate, rank, and review the various grinders that we’ve tested and let us assure you, we have tested a lot. So take a look, heed our advice, and perhaps you’ll find the grinder you’ve always wanted.