Why should I be aware of this?
Aluminium is present in our lives in many forms -- some of which we are aware of and some of which we are not very aware of. Some of the sources of aluminium which are are largely unknown to the public are:
- Aluminium occurs naturally in food and water.
- It might be found in many processed foods, cosmetics, toothpaste, antiperspirants and adjuvants in various parenteral preparations.
- It could also be found in different amounts in vegetation and animals according to its presence in the environment.
How does this affect me?
Aluminium can be toxic in excessive amounts. And if it is deposited in the brain it cna be toxiceven in small amounts . Many of the symptoms of aluminum toxicity mimic those of Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis. Aluminium toxicity can cause
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Interference with the metabolism of calcium
- Extreme nervousness
- Decreased liver and kidney function
- Memory loss
- Speech problems
- Softening of the bones
- Aching muscles
All about aluminium
Aluminium is extracted from bauxite ore. Aluminium always occurs in compound form known as alumina -- a combination of aluminium and oxygen. The extraction of alumiunium and removal of oxygen is a very energy intensive process.
- Recycling aluminium requires only 5% of the energy and produces only 5% of carbon dioxide(the CO2) emissions as compared with to primary production of the metal and reduces the waste going to landfill.
- Aluminium can be recycled indefinitely, as reprocessing does not damage its structure.
- Aluminium is also the most cost-effective material to recycle.
Uses of aluminium
Aluminium has a myriad of uses in modern society. It is alloyed with other metals and used in many industries, including the
- Motor vehicle
- Packaging of foodstuffs and drinks.
- Petroleum processing
- Rubber industry.
Source of aluminium ingestion
Normal ingestion of aluminium in the diet is about 3mg/day to 5 mg/day, of which only about 15 microgram is absorbed through the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. In humans, this small amount is usually excreted through the kidneys. However, with intakes of greater than 1000 mg/day, retention does occur.
The most common foods that contain substantial amounts of aluminium-containing additives include
- Processed cheese
- Baking powder
- Cake mix
- Frozen dough
- Pancake mix
- Self-raising flour
- Pickled vegetables.
Aluminium salts are found in some common medicines as well. These include *Analgesics (buffered aspirins)
Some forms of aluminium, like insoluble aluminium compounds that constitute aluminium hydroxide mixture are poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Certain organic ligands of aluminium, such as aluminium citrate, pass very rapidly from the food chain into the blood. Once absorbed, aluminium is bound extensively to protein.
Impact of aluminium ingstion
- Aluminium compounds can also affect absorption of other elements in the gastrointestinal tract and alter intestinal function.
- Aluminium inhibits fluoride absorption.
- It may decrease the absorption of calcium and iron compounds.
- It possibly hinders the absorption of cholesterol.
What can I do?
To prevent aluminum toxicity from happening to ourselves and our families we can
- Eat a diet that is high in fiber and includes apple pectin.
- Use stainless steel, glass, or iron cooking vessels. Stainless steel is the best choice.
- Beware of any product containing aluminum or dihydroxyaluminum.
- A hair analysis can be used to determine levels of aluminum in the body.
- Research has shown that the longer you cook food in aluminum pots, the more they corrode, and the more aluminum is absorbed into the food and hence into the body.
- Aluminum is more readily dissolved by acid forming foods, such as coffee, cheese, meat, black tea and green tea, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, turnips, spinach and radishes.
- Acid rain leeches aluminum out of the soil and into drinking water
- Three to 9 gm of aspirin daily could lead to the ingestion of 126 mg to 728 mg aluminium daily from this source.
- As for antacids, the aluminium content per dose may range from 35mg to 208mg. If taken at the maximum dosage, 24 tablets could lead to a possible daily intake of between 840mg and 5,000mg, resulting in acute toxicity.
- Recycling 1kg of aluminium saves up to 6kg of bauxite, 4kg of chemical products and 14 kWh of electricity.
- A recycled aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television for three hours.
- If all the aluminium cans in the UK were recycled there would be 14 million fewer full dustbins each year.
- Because of the widespread distribution of aluminium compounds through food and drink intake and the air that we breathe in, exposure to it is unavoidable. *Daily intake of aluminium for people in the general population has been reported to range from 9 mg/day to 36 mg/day, with an average of 20 mg/day.
- HEALTH HAZARDS OF ALUMINIUM
- Aluminium:Public health guidance note
- Recycling metals
- The Dangers of Aluminum Toxicity