Eating Aluminum: Is It As Safe As Our Regulators Say?
Sun, 27 May 2012 13:00 EDT
Aluminum toxicity, a characteristically manmade problem, is now impossible to avoid, and has become a postmodern rite of passage. Our environment has become so polluted with the stuff, that even our crop plants are being threatened, with biotechnology firms now scrambling to genetically engineer aluminum-tolerance into them as a possible, though still desperate solution.
Not only are we being exposed, daily, through increasingly polluted water, soil and air, but many of our regulatory agencies consider it perfectly safe to intentionally consume or inject the stuff directly into our bodies.
While there is no known physiologic need or positive biological role for aluminum in the human body, the FDA is perfectly content with the population it is charged with protecting eating it as a "food grade" additive. This same "regulatory agency" promotes the mythical concept of a "safe" food grade petroleum, allowing food manufacturers to surreptitiously feed us over half a pound a year, which is likely why human autopsies have revealed that almost half of us have pathological deposits of the stuff in our livers and spleen.*
Technically, there are 8 forms of aluminum the government considers benign enough to receive GRAS, or Generally Recognized As Safe, status - a designation which basically exempts the substance from adequate safety testing. Those 8 forms are:
Aluminum ammonium sulfate
Aluminum calcium silicate
Aluminum potassium sulfate
Aluminum sodium sulfate
If you look closer at the toxicological data on the Material Data Safety Sheet proved for aluminum sulfate, for instance, you will find that it states the following:
"WARNING! HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED OR INHALED. CAUSES IRRITATION TO SKIN, EYES AND RESPIRATORY TRACT."
"This material hydrolyzes in water to form sulfuric acid, which is responsible for the irritating effects given below."
"Inhalation: Causes irritation to the respiratory tract. Symptoms may include coughing, shortness of breath."
"Ingestion: Causes irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. There have been two cases of fatal human poisonings from ingestion of 30 grams of alum."
Sound safe? It should be noted for the nay-sayers, that contrary to what appears to be modern "expert" opinion, reducing the dosage of a toxic substance does not make it non-toxic; rather, it is only less acutely toxic, and more likely to have chronic, subtle and cumulative toxicities that are harder to ascertain and/or prove clinically, but nevertheless exist.
While this is disturbing, far worse is the CDC's claim that it is not only safe but therapeutic to inject aluminum-based vaccine adjuvants (e.g. aluminum hydroxide) directly into our bodies, including infants and children.
Here are just a few examples of how we are being continually exposed to aluminum:
Food: Aluminized baking powder is used in a wide range of consumer baked goods, and aluminum is added to highly-processed cheese products to "improve" melting qualities. A single serving of frozen cheese pizza has 14 mg, according to a 2005 study published in the journal Food Additives and Contaminants (sad, but telling that there has to be an entire journal dedicated to this topic).
Vaccines: Our precious children now receive over 60 vaccines by age 6, most of which now contain aluminum hydroxide instead of the now phased out (in the developed world, but not the under- and undeveloped ones, interestingly) mercury-laden thimerosal. For more on aluminum exposure and vaccines read our recent article on the topic: Can We Continue To Justify Injecting Aluminum Into Children?
Airborne Exposure: According to a study published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety in 2002, at least 500 tons of aluminum-coated chaff is released annually during military training operations in the United States.
Deodorant Antiperspirants: Aluminum, like a number of metals, is a metalloestrogen, capable of contributing to the proliferation of hormone-sensitive cells, such as breast cells. The regular application of this metal to the underarm area is likely contributing to aluminum-associated disease processes, including breast cancer.
Aluminum Cans: Beverages in aluminum cans have been shown to have between .1 to 74 parts per million of aluminum, especially in cola products which contain orthophosphoric acid. Unfortunately, even fruit juices in glass have been shown to accumulate aluminum.
Parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding): Newborns born in hospitals are commonly given intravenous feeding. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition demonstrated that parental nutrition resulted in aluminum exposures that exceeded the FDA recommended maximum limit, which is already frightfully high, considering the fact that determining "an acceptable level of harm" is an oxymoronic task.
Infant Formula: According to a 2010 study titled "There is (still) too much aluminum in infant formulas," and published in the journal BMC Pediatrics, infant formulas are widely contaminated with aluminum.
Aluminum exposure, as you can see, is rather difficult to avoid. Thankfully, when absolute avoidance is not possible, there are a few natural substances that have been demonstrated to have protective effects against aluminum toxicity. Of the 20 we have indexed thus far, the following we have chosen to highlight, mainly because of their availability and safety:
Turmeric: the primary polyphenol in turmeric known as curcumin, has been shown in numerous studies to reduce the neurotoxicity of aluminum, and its associated adverse effects on brain function and overall behavior.   
Propolis: a product of the beehive, this remarkable substance has been demonstrated to have significant protective properties against aluminum-induced damage to the liver and reproductive systems. 
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC): known for its ability to increase the production of glutathione, an endogenously produced antioxidant fundamental to cellular health. NAC has been shown to reduce aluminum-induced cognitive dysfunction and injury to the heart.  
Ginger: this spice has been shown to protect against aluminum chloride-induced reproductive damage.
Vitamin E: this fat-soluble antioxidant has been shown to reduce aluminum-induced liver damage.  
Vitamin C: this vitamin has been shown to reduce aluminum-induced damage to the reproductive system, as well as broadly reducing oxidative stress in the body.