Sources of aluminum burden in the body / Prophylactic self-isolation series. Day 344th.

While we are unable to make the judgement it would be wise to adopt a precautionary approach and to reduce human exposure to aluminum to a particular minimum

Christopher Exley

Christopher Exley is an English chemist known for his research on the health effects of aluminum exposure.

Two Fridays at least we were talking about aluminum and its impact on human health.

We have already discussed the following:

  • Why aluminum is harmful (toxic) for a human
  • negative impact of aluminum burden in a body, its accumulation in brain and bones and the link to chronic/degenerative diseases, its indirect and direct impact on breast cancer

All this information is available in two previous articles:

Aluminum excess in my body! What about you? / Prophylactic self-isolation series. Day 330th.

Aluminum and breast cancer. Is there an (indirect) link? / Prophylactic self-isolation series. Day 337th.

Today’s article will cover a few important aspects in regards to aluminum:

The sources of aluminum burden

  • kitchen utensils
    • aluminum utensils or aluminum parts of the kitchen equipment when in contact with acids start to leak aluminum into the food. Numerous studies have reported that acidic food (containing citric acid or other organic acids) increases aluminum absorption.
    • Examples:
      • cooking in aluminum pot and adding some vinegar or lemon juice (or tomato paste) to the content may result in leakage of aluminum to a soup you cook;
      • blending smoothie containing citrus fruits in a blender with aluminum blades;
      • baking in aluminum foil (to avoid this – avoid baking.
    • Wrapping food in aluminum foil (use paper bags or beeswax food wraps instead)
  • Canned products
    • I recently was in TK Maxx. Looking for some kitchen utensils I was surprised how many can openers were there. Well, it only means that canned products are on the demand.
    • Majority of cans is made from aluminum or other aluminum-containing alloys. Cans may be covered with other cheap metals or plastics, no one makes a can from stainless steel for you, right?
  • Antiperspirants containing aluminum
    • aluminum is an ingredient of more than 90% of antiperspirants available in the market. It is present in amounts up tp 25% of the weight of theses products
    • Synonyms: aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly, ammonium alum, aluminium zirconium chloride hydroxide

The role of aluminum antiperspirants is described in the previous article:

Aluminum and breast cancer. Is there an (indirect) link? / Prophylactic self-isolation series. Day 337th.

  • hemostatic agents to stop bleeding
    • aluminum chloride (used to control the local bleeding in dental surgeries)
    • styptic pencils
  • gardening
    • aluminum sulphate is added to soil to balance the pH for plants if soil is very alkaline.
    • Gardeners who plant hydrangeas apply this property to change the flower color (blue or pink) of the hydrangeas since this plant is very sensitive to soil pH.
  • Dyeing fabrics
    • aluminum sulphate is used as a dye “fixer”
  • Dying hair with aluminum foil

Dying hair by using aluminum foil. Image from reference 9

Balayage and highlights in very blonde tones are normally applied with foil—with this, waiting times are shortened given that the foil speeds up bleaching by lending heat to the process. Bleaching of less than three shades is done without foil, and there’s no difference in the result.

Aluminum may easily pass through the skin pores of a head into a body, i.e. directly into the brain

  • Painting with acrylics
    • If you would think to remove water-based paint solids from rinse water, you would need aluminum sulphate
  • Sandpaper
  • Paper Making
    • Aluminum sulphate was widely used in past for making paper. However, these days the method is used too. You may be sure that aluminum was not used for making paper if the paper package clearly states that the paper is “acid free”. I personally have found “acid free” paper in the art shop. I have not seen “acid free” paper anywhere else. 
  • Drinking and/or spring water
    • Aluminum concentrations (1-25 microgram per litre) found in most water available for human consumption are sufficient to induce significant levels of accumulation (in relation to the duration of the exposure)
    • aluminum filters as water purifier to bind proteins (aluminum chloride, aluminum sulphate)
    • Brita filter increases the amount of aluminum in the water by almost 34%. Aluminum is actually added to the water by the Brita filter itself, although this may be an aluminum trioxide which acts as water purifier
  •  Commercial cosmetic products
    • antiperspirants, sunscreens and sunblocks, other products applied to the skin, such as body creams, tanning lotions and make-up including lip products
    • aluminum stearate is an emollient/emulsifier in formulations of cosmetic cream
  • Natural cosmetic products with clay (other clay names bentonite, kaolin, illite)
  • Diatomiaceous earth (diatomite)
    • in general, cosmetic clay like kaolin, bentonite and illite, contain higher amount of aluminum oxide (20-40%) if compared to diatomite (5-10%, but usually less than 5%)
  • baking soda
    • baking soda for food should be purified and it should be clearly stated on a package “purified”. If not – baking soda may be contaminated with aluminum
  • drugs (antacids, buffered analgetics)
    • antacids are widely used without prescription against mild gastro-oesophageal reflux and heartburn.
      • Aluminum names in antacid drugs: aluminum oxide, aluminum hydroxide, dihydroxyaluminum sodium carbonate, magaldrate, hydrotalcite, almagate.
      • Some common names include Maalox, Gaviscon, Riopan, Talcid, Megalac, Trigastril, Almax, Bemolan, Alucol, Kompensan, Minoton and many others (the use of tradenames is for product identification purpose only and does not imply endorsement)

long term antacid therapy can lead to severe phosphate depletion, osteomalacia and toxic accumulation of aluminum


aluminum (from antacids, or cookware) with beverages such as fruit juices, coffee, tomato juice, ethanol or wine may significantly increase the absorption of aluminum


citric acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid and oxalic acid may increase aluminum absorption and also enhance th retention of aluminum in tissues

REINKE, C.M., et al. Aluminium in Over-the-Counter Drugs
  • Aluminum hemodialysis solutions
  • Aluminum-contaminated parenteral nutrition for preterm infants and neonates
  • Aluminum can penetrate placenta and accumulate in fetal tissue, particularly in bones
  • Aluminum is also present in the mother’s milk
  • Exposure to aluminum through breathing, especially in the industrial regions
  • Industrial/workplace exposure
  • Smoking of cigarettes and cannabis – risk for both active and passive smokers
  • Electronic cigarettes
    • atomizers structure as well as heating coils (e.g., kanthal coil) may contain aluminum – risk for both active and passive smokers
  • Exposure to aluminum dust, in potroom and foundry workers
  • Aerosol antiperspirants – exposure to aluminum both through breathing and applying to skin
  • Dietary supplements (vitamins of natural origin where the source of raw materials is unclear or doubtful) may be contaminated with aluminum
  • Buffered analgetics
    • Analgeics such as diclofenac, aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) or ibuprofen include aluminum compounds to improve the dissolution of the active substance from a solid formulation (a tablet), but also to reduce gastric acidity caused by analgetic itself. 
    • Aluminum compounds for buffered analgetics are aluminum hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide distearate.
  • Vaccines (vaccines adjuvants)
    • aluminum compounds (Alhydrogel, aluminum sulphate, aluminum hydroxide) are widely used as adjuvants for veterinary and human vaccines.
    • The official position of science nowadays is that “the amount of aluminum remaining in the body after immunization /…/ is obviously very small”.
    • The question is: “Where this “small amount” does goes further? Where does it accumulate along with all other aluminum which enters the body within a life? In the lymph? In the brain? In bones? In hair? In blood? Or it stays at the site of injection forever? Probably not. Nobody looks for cumulative aluminum amounts in general, but yes, the amounts of aluminum in particular products are low.
  • immunization and allergy treatment

Again, my article is too long:)

Let’s talk about the rest subtopics on aluminum next Friday, on February 26, 2021. Stay tuned!

Subtopics for next Friday:

  • which testing type is more accurate for detection of an aluminum level in a body;
  • how to eliminate aluminum from a body naturally


  1. NOURI, S., et al. Efficacy and Safety of Aluminum Chloride in Controlling External Hemorrhage: An Animal Model Study. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 20150320, Mar 20, 2015, vol. 17, no. 3. pp. e19714 ISSN 2074-1804; 2074-1804.
  2. REINKE, C.M., BREITKREUTZ, J. and LEUENBERGER, H. Aluminium in Over-the-Counter Drugs. Drug Safety, 2003, vol. 26, no. 14. pp. 1011-1025.
  3. FARSALINOS, K.E., VOUDRIS, V. and POULAS, K. Are Metals Emitted from Electronic Cigarettes a Reason for Health Concern? A Risk-Assessment Analysis of Currently Available Literature. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2015, vol. 12, no. 5. pp. 5215-5232.
  4. Uses Of Aluminum Sulfate, online source:
  5. Removing Water-Based Paint Solids from Rinse Water, online source:
  6. ANANE, R. and CREPPY, E. Lipid Peroxidation as Pathway of Aluminium Cytotoxicity in Human Skin Fibroblast Cultures: Prevention by Superoxide Dismutase Catalase and Vitamins E and C. Human & Experimental Toxicology, 2001, vol. 20, no. 9. pp. 477-481.
  7. Brita water filter heavy metals reduction laboratory results, online source:
  8. Berkey Water Purifier vs. Brita Water Filter, online source:,chemically%20inert%20and%20therefore%20harmless.
  9. What does Foil do When Bleaching Hair, online source:

Images and text © Dr. A. Palatronis /

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2 thoughts on “Sources of aluminum burden in the body / Prophylactic self-isolation series. Day 344th.

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