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Plastic or aluminium cream separator?  RSS feed

 
Katy Whitby-last
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I'm in the Uk and I want to get a cream separator. The only ones that are available that don't cost an absolute fortune come from the Ukraine. They do not have stainless steel ones so I have to choose between aluminium or plastic coming into contact with the milk. Which do you think would be the lesser of evils?
 
Deb Stephens
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Katy Whitby-last wrote:I'm in the Uk and I want to get a cream separator. The only ones that are available that don't cost an absolute fortune come from the Ukraine. They do not have stainless steel ones so I have to choose between aluminium or plastic coming into contact with the milk. Which do you think would be the lesser of evils?


Katy,
I know you asked for an either/or answer, but to be absolutely true to my gut instinct (backed by many years of following the science surrounding this question), I can only advise you to save up a bit of cash and buy stainless steel or glass. Both of the cheaper options are unsafe -- period. If you must use one or the other, you should base your decision upon whether you want to risk the effects of estrogen mimics in all plastics (yes, even those that claim to be safe and BPA-free) that can lead to diabetes, weight gain, or cancer, OR those of using aluminum -- like Alzheimers. Considering how many toxic and potentially harmful things we are exposed to on a daily basis that we have no control over, why risk more harm from something we can actually control? It is worth the extra money to buy something that will last and that you can feel good about using.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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The problem is that the cheaper ones are approx £80 the stainless steel ones are over £1000 and there is no way I could ever afford that.
 
Tom OHern
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Deb Stephens wrote:OR those of using aluminum -- like Alzheimers.


Aluminum is actually quite safe. Any bare aluminum quickly forms an oxidized coating that is non-reactive to anything in your food. The only way to remove this is using metal scrubbers while cleaning. And even then, the oxidation re-forms within a short time after the bare metal gets exposed.

The fear over aluminum dates back to the 60's and 70's when they were trying to figure out what caused some brain diseases. Aluminum does turn up in higher amounts than normal in some autopsy studies of Alzheimer's patients, but not in all. There have been no conclusive studies that show where this aluminum comes from either, so trying to eliminate some sources is not necessarily a worthwhile effort. All we have is correlation data, which proves nothing. But we do know that trace amounts of aluminum are in many of our foods, and that is a far more likely source if it is a problem. The Alzheimer's Association even puts on it's page now that Aluminum is not a cause.

If it were me, I'd get the aluminum one, and just make sure not to use anything like steel wool to clean it with so you never have to worry about removing the oxidation layer. Jut make sure that the aluminum one doesn't have a plastic coating, which is the case with some aluminum water bottles. Those usually do have things like BPA in them.
 
John Wolfram
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I would probably go with aluminum. Considering aluminum makes up ~10% of the soil, the additional couple picograms of exposure to aluminum oxide will be trivial compared to what you are exposed to on a daily basis.

Don't worry, the expensive stainless steel ones are also toxic. 1 2

 
Deb Stephens
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John Wolfram wrote:I would probably go with aluminum. Considering aluminum makes up ~10% of the soil, the additional couple picograms of exposure to aluminum oxide will be trivial compared to what you are exposed to on a daily basis.

Don't worry, the expensive stainless steel ones are also toxic. 1 2



Just because aluminum is one of the most common metals on the planet doesn't mean we shouldn't worry about our exposure to it. However, the article about toxic metals building up in our bodies was enlightening -- I didn't know that about the nickel in stainless steel. That is good to know (though I think I will go look at a few actual studies before committing to dumping all my stainless steel pots and "silverware".) I do use stainless, (NEVER the non-stick junk!!!) but I mostly cook entirely in cast iron or glass. My dishes and most of my non-cast iron pots are either glass or enamel-coated as well, so that's good. Of course, with my luck, they will probably declare cast iron and glass toxic next.

As for that cream separator -- £1000 for a cream separator? YIKES!!! In that case, yes, aluminum would definitely look a bit better to me as well. Have you looked into getting one somewhere else and having it shipped to you? Maybe on ebay or Amazon, etc.? Or what about an old-fashioned one like this? https://www.lehmans.com/p-590-old-time-cream-separator.aspx It would still set you back more than the plastic or aluminum ones but it has the advantage of still working when the lights go out.
 
John Wolfram
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Deb Stephens wrote:Of course, with my luck, they will probably declare cast iron and glass toxic next.


I'm sure they will...just about everything is toxic. But, on the bright side a whole bunch of toxic stuff also turns out to also be an essential nutrient. Have you gotten your daily dose of Nickel, Arsenic, and Bromine? If not, your blood cells will have a hard time absorbing iron, you'll be likely to have a heart attack if breast feeding, and you might become an insomniac. 1, 2, 3.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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Deb Stephens wrote:

As for that cream separator -- £1000 for a cream separator? YIKES!!! In that case, yes, aluminum would definitely look a bit better to me as well. Have you looked into getting one somewhere else and having it shipped to you? Maybe on ebay or Amazon, etc.? Or what about an old-fashioned one like this? https://www.lehmans.com/p-590-old-time-cream-separator.aspx It would still set you back more than the plastic or aluminum ones but it has the advantage of still working when the lights go out.


Unfortunately that type doesn't work for goat's milk
 
Deb Stephens
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Katy Whitby wrote:
Unfortunately that type doesn't work for goat's milk


I saw that but I wasn't sure what kind of milk you were using. Goat's milk doesn't separate into obvious layers like cow's milk (part of why it is so much more digestible) so I imagine it would require a centrifuge-type separator to do the job and those are very expensive. Believe it or not, we actually have a cast iron milk centrifuge separator. My husband found it in an old flea market in Arkansas about 20 years ago and bought it for $5. We use it as a centrifuge for casting small parts and jewelry pieces that don't cast well using gravity alone., so I would not want to use it for milk at this point. I wonder if you might find something like that in a vintage flea market or someplace like that? Maybe talk to a few old farmers and see what they have stashed away in their barns? Ours is not exactly like, but very similar to this one on ebay... http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/221647675553?item=221647675553&lgeo=1&vectorid=229466&rmvSB=true Actually, this one is more like it. I had no idea how valuable it was!!! And to think we paid $5 for ours. http://www.ebay.com/itm/BURREL-CAST-IRON-CENTRIFUGE-RARE-PATD-1900-HAND-CRANK-/200407759540?pt=Folk_Art&hash=item2ea93bbab4 The thing weighs a ton, so I am not surprised that the shipping cost is so high. Still, if it works, that first one is cheaper than some of those toxic plastic and aluminum things, AND it is a great piece of useful machinery that will last forever. Cleaned up, something like that would be of real value on a homestead for generations to come.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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Pity there isn't anything like that on ebay on the UK
 
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