While aluminum has been known to be toxic, with evidence showing that chronic exposure to the substance is a factor in many neurological diseases, definitive scientific proof has been difficult to establish. Aluminum has been linked to dementia, autism and Parkinson’s disease, yet aluminum companies have steadily denied any association. However, a recent case study has proven important in establishing the toxicity of aluminum.
A study from Keele University in the United Kingdom found high levels of aluminum in the brain of an individual who was exposed to aluminum at work. This individual later passed away from Alzheimer’s disease.
This study may be the first direct link between Alzheimer’s disease and elevated brain aluminum following exposure in the work place. The 66-year-old man developed an aggressive form of early onset Alzheimer’s disease after eight years of occupational exposure to aluminum dust, which scientists believe “suggests a prominent role for the olfactory system and lungs in the accumulation in the brain.
This incident wasn’t the first of its kind. High aluminum levels were found in the tissues of a British woman who died of early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2004, 16 years after an industrial accident that caused 20 metric tons of aluminum sulphate to be dumped into her local drinking water. There have also been many supplemental studies showing elevated aluminum levels in individuals displaying a wide range of neurological symptoms.
For those who work in factories or in industries such as mining or welding, exposure to aluminum is an occupational hazard. Inhaling aluminum dust or vapors sends aluminum particles directly into the lungs in a form that is highly absorbent. From there, the aluminum passes into the bloodstream and is distributed throughout the body, even reaching the bones and brain.
Despite higher levels of exposure at certain jobs, aluminum is everywhere. It naturally occurs in soil, water and air, but humans are contributing to the load through mining and processing of aluminum ores, manufacturing aluminum products and operating coal-fired power plants and incinerators. Aluminum can not be destroyed by the environment, so it changes its form by either attaching to or separating from other particles. One place that aluminum particles tend to accumulate is in water. If you are living in an industrial area, your exposure to aluminum is most likely higher than average.
Aluminum in Everyday Products
Aluminum contamination has been found in a number of products when tested, including foods, beverages and pharmaceuticals, suggesting that the manufacturing process is a big part of the problem. Aluminum has been found in:
- Baking Powder
- Baby Formula
- Coffee Creamers
- Processed Foods
- Hepatitis A and B Vaccines
- Gardasil (HPV) Vaccine
- Water Bottles
- Juice Pouches
Aluminum and the Brain
Think of aluminum’s effects on your central nervous system like the effects of a cigarette on your lungs. Toxic metals damage brain tissue and lead to degenerative disease by producing oxidative stress. Once aluminum enters your tissues, the body has a difficult time trying to release it. Once in the body, it travels around and is able to cross barriers in the body that are usually able to keep toxins out, making it extremely dangerous. An accumulation of aluminum in the brain can cause serious damage to neurological health, regardless of your age.
Avoiding aluminum products is an important step in maintaining your health. Be careful to keep toothpaste, antiperspirants, deodorants, laminated pouch drinks, cookware and coffee makers that contain aluminum out of your home. Being informed and aware is vital to protecting your health and the health of your family.