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The Truth About Aluminum Toxicity

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One of the things that I have been hearing a lot of recently is that vaccines are dangerous because they contain aluminum.  Similarly, various chemtrail conspiracy theorists frequently cite aluminum as being one of the dangerous ingredients in their imaginary chemical discharges.  They’re not alone.  Others have said that children’s medicines contain dangerous amounts of aluminum which could cause everything from autism and dementia.  It’s strange to see this common material, which we encounter daily becoming something so many are afraid of.

Presented here is some information on what kind of concerns aluminum and it’s most fundamental compounds present.  Spoiler: It’s pretty benign stuff and for most people there’s no concern at all about toxicity.

Sorry, but you have been exposed to aluminum, possibly a lot of it:

On the planet earth, aluminum is common.  It’s very common.  In fact, it’s so common that it makes up more than eight percent of earth’s crust.  It is the most common metallic element on earth.   Nearly any sample of soil tested will have significant amounts of aluminum, and some will have much higher than eight percent aluminum.

Since atmospheric dust is largely composed of soil that has been kicked up, it also contains a large amount of aluminum.  You breathe this dust regularly and are thus exposed to aluminum every day, although in relatively low amounts.   Aluminum is also found in surface and groundwater, but the concentrations tend to be very low, due to its insolubility. (usually about .1 mg per liter or less) It may be higher in water that has a naturally low pH.

Of course, this is not aluminum in its pure metallic form.  Aluminum does not exist in nature in this state.  It does, however, exist in many products in its metallic form and it is something your food is exposed to quite regularly.  Aluminum cookware is common and aluminum foil has been used for foods for decades.  Aluminum is not very soluble and it is self-passivizing, so you are not likely to get very much of it dissolving in the food, but it is there.  It’s also in any number of things you touch every day.

The route by which you are likely to be exposed to the most aluminum, or at least the most absorbable aluminum is through the use of antacids.  Aluminum does not occur in significant amounts in most foods, but many antacids use aluminum hydroxide.  If you suffer from frequent heartburn and turn to these products to relieve it, you are likely to be absorbing some significant amounts of aluminum.  You may also be exposed to aluminum through the use of antiperspirants.

From the CDC’s Toxocology Profiles of Aluminum:

Based on the FDA’s 1993 Total Diet Study dietary exposure model and the 1987–1988 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nationwide Food Consumption Survey, the authors estimated daily aluminum intakes of 0.10 mg Al/kg/day for 6 –11-month-old infants; 0.30–0.35 mg Al/kg/day for 2–6-year-old children; 0.11 mg Al/kg/day for 10-year old children; 0.15–0.18 mg Al/kg/day for 14–16-year-old males and females; and 0.10–0.12 mg Al/kg/day for adult (25–30- and 70+-year-old) males and females.

That’s definitely not a lot for most individuals, although, it goes on to say that many can and are safely exposed to much higher levels:

Users of aluminum-containing medications who are healthy(i.e., have normal renal function) can ingest much larger amounts of aluminum than in the diet, possibly as high as 12–71 mg Al/kg/day from antacid/anti-ulcer products and 2–10 mg Al/kg/day from buffered analgesics when taken at recommended dosages.

The Acute Toxicity of Aluminum:

When it comes to the acute effects, aluminum is not very toxic at all.  Getting a severe dose of aluminum is almost impossible through exposure to aluminum metal or aluminum oxides.  It’s simply too non-soluble and difficult to absorb.  You could eat little bits of aluminum all day and the only thing you’d have to worry about is how they might feel when they come out the other end.

Aluminum salts are more absorbable and you could be exposed to a significant amount of aluminum if you inhaled, injected or ingested large amounts of aluminum salts.  In principle, this could be dangerous, even lethal, but the dose necessary would be enormous.  Aluminum sulfate is a common aluminum salt which is highly soluble and readily absorbable.  The lethal dose is listed as more than six grams per kilogram.  Other salts of aluminum may have an LD50 of as low as 100mg per kilogram.  That’s still quite high.  You’d really have to eat a lot of the stuff before you had any chance of serious reactions.  An average sized person might need to consume upwards of half a kilogram of many aluminum salts in one sitting to actually be in danger of acute toxicity.

The Chronic Toxicity of Aluminum:

It is always more difficult to establish the chronic toxicity of a substance than the acute toxicity.  That is, to measure the effects of doses that are too low to create any immediate effects but which can cause issues over time, especially with repeated exposure.

Exposure to extremely high levels of aluminum over time may lead to deposition in the bones.  This may disrupt the deposition of calcium and thus reduced mineralization of bones.  It could therefore exacerbate conditions like osteoporosis.  However, exposure to levels high enough to have a noticeable impact on bone composition is extremely rare, especially in otherwise healthy individuals.

Very high doses of aluminum may result in neurotically, but again, the dose has to be extremely high.  So high, that it is almost never a concern in healthy individuals.  Aluminum may build up to the point where neurotically can be observed in those who have impaired kidney function.  This is especially true if intravenous hemodialysis therapy is used, in which IV fluids often contain aluminum compounds. Aluminum exposure can also result from medications used to regulate phosphate levels in those with impaired kidney function. Dialysis encephalopathy syndrome is a serious condition that can be the result of aluminum deposition in the brain.

It is important to note that kidney patients who receive these treatments represent an extreme case, being exposed to orders of magnitude more aluminum than the average person and lacking the ability to excrete it as effectively.

It has been speculated that aluminum may play a roll in Alzheimer’s disease. The plaques found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s have been found to contain relatively high concentrations of aluminum compounds. This does not mean that aluminum is a cause of the condition, as it is also possible that the plaques simply have an afinity for absorbing aluminum compounds, already present in the body.

The best scientific data currently available would seem to indicate that aluminum exposure is not related to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Some studies have been cited as showing an association between Alzheimer’s and high levels of aluminum in drinking water, but the association was extremely weak and not conclusive. Studies have also been conducted on the consumption of antacids and other aluminum-containing products (which result in much higher exposure than water sources) does not have any association with Alzheimer’s disease. The conclusion of the CDC is thus that “The available data do not suggest that aluminum is a causative agent of Alzheimer’s disease; however, it is possible that it may play a role in the disease development.”

Aluminum salts have also been speculated as increasing the risk of breast cancer, although there is little direct evidence of this.  Furthermore, inhaled aluminum particles are associated with respiratory problems, but that’s true of just about any inhaled particle.

According to the CDC, the available science indicates that healthy individuals may be exposed to upwards of 40 mg of absorbed aluminum per day with no ill effects.  Occasional exposure may be even higher.  This is much higher than what the typical person is exposed to through food, water and other sources.

There are individuals who have an allergic or hypersensitive reaction to aluminum, but it’s extremely rare.  Such individuals would be a special case and should obviously avoid products that would exacerbate their condition.


If you are worried about being exposed to aluminum, you should stop.  It’s really not something that anyone has to be concerned about, except in the most extreme circumstances, such as in situations where large amounts of aluminum-based medications are given to kidney patients.  The acute toxicity of aluminum is so low as to be beyond any concern and the chronic toxicity is also quite low.  Realistically, no healthy person is likely to be exposed to levels of aluminum that are worth being concerned about.  You can continue to take your aluminum-based antacids and use aluminum-based antiperspirants.

They are not spraying aluminum nano-particles out of aircraft.  If they were, however, it wouldn’t do much to harm anyone.

Aluminum compounds may be found in vaccines.  These compounds are used as adjuncts to increase the immune response.  The FDA limits the content of vaccines to a maximum of .85 mg of aluminum per dose.  This level is extremely low.  So low, it does not generally result in a detectable increase in the plasma concentration of aluminum in individuals who receive the injections.  It has not been associated with any adverse reaction, except perhaps in those with a per-existing allergy.


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