Q: Why is aluminum bad for us?
A: Aluminum is a heavy metal that is not required for life. Aluminum toxicity is linked to numerous conditions such as dementia, allergic dermatitis, cancer, kidney failure and osteoporosis.
Wikipedia has a good reference to health concerns related to aluminum exposures. By the way, Wikipedia needs your help. Please donate. We have.
Q: Are there any major water bottles that are made with aluminum that we should be careful of?
A: There are many water bottles that are made from aluminum. The old military canteens are aluminum. You often find these at military surplus stores or even new in many outdoor stores.
SIGG uses aluminum but they use a lining to prevent aluminum from leaching. I am not sure what their new lining consists of though.
Q: What do you think about SIGG referring to aluminum potentially causing Alzheimer’s as a myth?
A: I don’t like that response much. Linking Alzheimer’s to aluminum exposure is not a myth. It simply is not proven. As research and technology improves, the link becomes greater and greater.
I have additional information about this in another blog post:
“It is a long-standing fact that aluminum is neurotoxic and is associated with numerous health conditions. Let me back that up by stating that back in 1996, researchers from the University of Virgina wrote, “Aluminum (Al) is unquestionably neurotoxic in both experimental animals and certain human diseases.
If aluminum was not toxic, why are aluminum cans and aluminum bottles lined with bispenol-a or other proprietary linings?
The link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s has been a difficult one for researchers to nail down due to ineffective methods of measuring aluminum in the brain. Nonetheless, technology keeps advancing and researchers keep persisting as prior studies show strong evidence between aluminum and Alzheimer’s.
There is no ‘myth’ between Alzheimer’s and aluminum. There are over 150 peer-reviewed researched papers evaluating the link between the two. As one reviews the most current research, we see the link becoming more established.
A recent study done in 2009 by Yumoto et al looked at Alzheimer’s patients with aluminum levels present in their brain. They found aluminum present with beta amyloid and amyloid inside senile plaques. This suggests that aluminum may play a role in amyloid formation.
Beta amyloid and amyloid are the main indicators of Alzheimer’s disease.
Need I say more?”
Q: How seriously should we worry about the idea of aluminum being linked to Alzheimer’s?
A: Alzheimer’s has many causes. Aluminum may be only one cause of many.
I do not want Alzheimer’s so I do all I can to avoid it. Avoiding aluminum is one. Why wait until research proves or disproves it when it is a risk for dementia anyway?
Q: Are the links between the two from lifelong exposure, or could it even happen from a shorter exposure later in life
A: No true link has been set yet for aluminum and Alzheimer’s.
People need to think of exposures in terms of proportion to body weight, frequency and your liver’s ability to get the toxins out.
If you are a pregnant woman or a breastfeeding mom taking antacids, using antiperspirants, using aluminum foil, drinking from aluminum bottles and cooking in aluminum cookware, you are exposing more than just yourself to increased aluminum levels. You are exposing and bioaccumulating BPA in the lining to protect the aluminum from leaching into the beverage. Companies continue to use it as they are inexpensive.
Unfortunately, it appears that commerce gets priority. Preventing disease does not as it has no short-term monetary gain. Nevermind that disease prevention could save billions and billions of dollars a year.
Q: Are there particular household products that are better to avoid than others?
A: Baking powder is a big one. They have aluminum free baking powder so use that one.
Any cookware that is aluminum needs to get recycled. Grandparents usually are at risk here as they cooked on it all their lives. Utensils also are often aluminum. Backpacking and camping gear is often aluminum. Swap all this out for stainless steel.
Q: Does this include aluminum foil?
A: Yes it does.
I use parchment paper to cook on when baking. You have to be careful not to get it caught on fire so use lower heats.
I use glass or steel to bake in.
I use stainless steel or iron for stove top cooking with lids.
For sandwiches or lunches, parchment paper works great instead of plastic and aluminum foil.
For soggy sandwiches, we use stainless steel containers.
Q: We’ve heard that you can find aluminum in deodorants, antiperspirants, aspirin, and even in tea—is this true?
A: Yes it is. Aluminum is pervasive. Read the fine print and request full disclosure of ingredients. Many supplements and pharmaceuticals have a laundry list of other ingredients such as aluminum hydroxide, titanium dioxide, food coloring, glazes, preservatives and so on.
Q: If we are looking for aluminum-free alternatives to these sorts of products could we find them, are they available?
A: Yes they are. HealthEGoods.com provides aluminum-free deodorants and aftershaves.
StainlessWaterBottles.com provides stainless steel bowls.
Many natural grocery stores have great selection of products–such as Whole Foods, PCC, Top Foods, and your local Natural Foods Co-op.
Q: When did it first become clear that aluminum exposure is bad for our health?
A: In the 1970’s, aluminum toxicity became known.
Aluminum toxicity is different than aluminum exposure. One can have many exposures to aluminum and show no ill effects. At some point, minute exposures lead to excess and then cause symptoms.
Q: Are they still researching the potential harmful health effects of aluminum today?
A: Every year more and more research comes out on aluminum and its effects.
For the year of 2009, I found 129 research studies related to aluminum toxicity.
Q: What does the FDA think about aluminum, do they have any guidelines that govern its use?
A: The FDA does have guidelines. However, in my opinion the guidelines are too weak. The FDA often appears to forget about bioaccumulation.
Q: What are your overall thoughts on aluminum? Any helpful tips for those who are trying to live as aluminum-free as possible?
A: Read labels. Ask questions. That is my biggest tip. Simply because a product is on a shelf does not mean it is safe.
My next tip is to relax a bit.
We cannot live a purely clean lifestyle but we can limit our exposures by educating ourselves. We also cannot freak out that this has aluminum in it and became absolutely paranoid about it.
If a doctor recommends you take aspirin to prevent a heart attack, then you take it. The little bit of aluminum you get from the aspirin is insignificant to the potential life-saving effects of the aspirin.
If you touch something made of aluminum, it won’t hurt you. However, if you take a grinder to it without a respirator, then that is not so smart.
Please post your questions and comments. I’ll address them.
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