The Toxicity of Aluminum

Aluminum: Don’t Sweat It?

Aluminum is the most abundant metal on the planet and it is never destroyed, only transformed. It binds to other particles and can dissolve in water, be taken up by plants and stay suspended in the air.

There’s a big battle line drawn between scientists that say the aluminum we’re exposed to every day doesn’t propose any risk and science that has shown just how dangerous aluminum might be.

The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) lists aluminum in its toxic substances list but say that of the amounts of aluminum we’re exposed to every day, only a small bit is actually absorbed into the bloodstream.

The real issue lies in the fact that there are many, many forces behind the experts that say it doesn’t pose a risk. Aluminum is used in everything from cookware and siding to antiperspirants, food additives, vaccines and even BPA-free water bottles. Multiple industries have a stake in suppressing research or claiming that data is unreliable. Even the government has to worry about its long support of fluoridation of drinking water because aluminum has been found to react dangerously with fluoride.

What It’s In

Besides through antiperspirants and vaccines, we’re exposed to added aluminum from cookware, foil, and baking powder. Over-the-counter antacids, anti-diarrheal drugs and non-prescription pain and inflammation relievers also contain aluminum.Dr. Mercola warns that feminine douches are another source of aluminum along with baked goods, table salt, processed cheeses, refined flours and other refined foods.

Dr. Mercola also warns that the crystal deodorant stones sold in health food stores contain a type of aluminum. These stones are made from alum, which is also known as potassium aluminum sulfate, so technically-speaking, these stones are not aluminum-free.

The environmentally-safe water treatment company Lenntech says that aluminum is not an “innocent compound.” Their researchers report that aluminum accumulates in plants and affects the animals that consume them. Aluminum is contributing to declining populations of amphibians, birds and fish and aluminum in groundwater damages tree roots.

Aluminum sources that are of the biggest concern include antiperspirants, vaccines and water.

Aluminum in Antiperspirants & Deodorants

In 2001, a study was done to determine the rate at which we absorb aluminum through the skin by using antiperspirants. The researchers found that in one swipe, .012% of the aluminum was absorbed through the skin.

In 2004, researcher Gloria Yiu investigated the effects of common health and beauty aids with aluminum as their active ingredient on DNA in canine cells. She tested Crystal Natural, Old Spice and Secret Platinum and found that they damaged the DNA of the cells. The natural alternative, Crystal Natural, delivered the most extensive damage.

In 2005, a study by Darbre et al published in the Journal of Inorganic Chemistry found that aluminum in antiperspirants can interfere with normal cell function and that aluminum increases gene expression like estrogen-mimickers do.

Aluminum in Vaccines

Aluminum is used as an adjuvant in many vaccines in place of thimerosal, says Dr. Lawrence Palevsky. Adjuvants work by amping up your immune response to the antigen, the infecting agent. Scientists are still unclear about how adjuvants work but they use them so that they can use fewer antigens and cut costs.

Aluminum is found in DTaP, Haemophilus influenza B (HIB), Hepatitis A and B, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Pediarix, Pentacel, Pneumococcal, diphteria, tetanus, pertussis, and pneumonia vaccines.

In 2001 University of Kentucky professor Boyd Haley found that nerve cells were damaged by aluminum, especially when combined with common vaccine components such as formaldehyde, mercury and the antibiotic neomycin.

According to Environmental Defense, says Dr. Palevsky, all vaccine ingredients are carcinogenic, poisonous or potentially harmful to the gastrointestinal, immune, neurological and pulmonary systems.

Dr. Russell Blaylock published a 5-part series on Dr. Mercola’s website titled: “The Truth Behind the Vaccine Coverup” which includes a section on aluminum.

Blaylock reveals the contents of a 2000 report detailing the meeting between 51 scientists and doctors representing 5 vaccine manufacturers titled “Scientific Review of Vaccine Safety Datalink Information.”

The meeting was held to determine how to handle a Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) study by Dr. Thomas Verstraesten that found a connection between vaccine ingredients and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Four years later, Dr. Verstraesten published a report reversing his earlier conclusions based on the “expert” findings from this meeting.

Blaylock was outraged by the blatant deceptions contained in the report. Dr. Johnson, for example, says that aluminum salts “have a wide margin of safety” and that there is “absolutely no data” about the synergistic effects of “binary metal mixtures [mercury and aluminum].”

In fact, says Blaylock, aluminum salts are known neurotoxins that:

  • Are toxic to neuronal neurotubules
  • Interfere with antioxidant enzymes
  • Poison enzymes that repair DNA
  • Interfere with cell energy production
  • Block glutamate re-uptake
  • Bind to DNA
  • Interfere with neuronal membrane function

Blaylock adds that “toxins that share toxic mechanisms are almost always additive and frequently synergistic” and that both aluminum and mercury accumulate in the brain and spinal cord.

When a number of doctors remark that no health concerns involving aluminum salts had been raised from the material they were looking at; one doctor spoke up.

Dr. William Weil said “There are just a host of neurodevelopmental data that would suggest that we’ve got a serious problem…to think there isn’t some possible problem here is unreal.”

Dr. Paul Stehr-Green also voted to give the matter further study: “The implications are so profound these should be examined further.”

Blaylock says that the use of aluminum hydroxide and aluminum phosphate in vaccines has been linked to loss of autonomic nervous system function in children.He says that French physician Dr. Gherardi has gathered more than 200 proven cases of chronic immune stimulation by injected aluminum and that this activation is a major cause of damage in multiple degenerative brain disorders.

Blaylock believes that evidence exists for this chronic immune activation being a major cause behind autism, ADD and Gulf War Syndrome.

A study published in the 2007 issue of Neuromolecular Medicine has given further evidence for this Blaylock’s theory. The scientists took a look at the aluminum adjuvant used in vaccines given to Gulf War soldiers. They injected mice with the adjuvant in quantities similar to those used in the vaccines and found that they created a 35% motor neuron loss, and a 41% increase in cognitive deficits.

Aluminum & Fluoride in Water

French researchers in Bordeaux have published the results of a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology in February of 2009 concerning Alzheimer’s and aluminum.

Dr. Virginie Rondeau and her colleagues followed aging adults for 15 years and measured how aluminum and silica in their drinking water affected their brain health: cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

A daily intake of just 0.1 milligram of aluminum was linked to greater rates of cognitive decline in the subjects. A high intake of aluminum more than doubled the risk of developing dementia.

Silica, the researchers noted, had the opposite effect. 10 milligrams of silica daily reduced dementia risk by 11%. Silica may reduce the absorption aluminum or increase its excretion from the body.

One of the biggest concerns about aluminum is that, as the ATSDR reports, aluminum is in our drinking water and with the increase in exposure through so many sources, who knows how much we take in?

It’s been known since the late 1990’s that aluminum and fluoride combine in dangerous ways.

A study led by JA Varner published in the 1998 issue of Brain Research had to be stopped because 80% of the rats they fed low doses of fluoridated water to died.

The researchers found that fluoride allows aluminum to cross the blood-brain barrier, resulting in twice the accumulation of aluminum in the rats’ brains than those of rats given non-fluoridated water and this accumulation of aluminum resulted in dramatic brain cell degeneration.


Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (2008)

Dr. Mercola (2003)

Lenntech (2009)

Dr. Mercola (2010)

Food & Chemical Toxicology (2001)

Toxicology Mechanisms & Methods (2004)

Vanderbilt University (2008)

National Vaccine Information Center (2010)

Dr. Mercola (2004)

Neuromolecular Medicine (2007)

Reuters (2009)

Action PA (2001)

Dr. Axe’s Action Steps

  1. Reduce your toxic exposure to aluminum in food items such as baking powder, refined flours or cooking foil.
  2. Throw out any deodorants or antiperspirants that contain aluminum in any form. Switch to a natural, aluminum-free version or simply go without. Your body sweats for a reason–it needs to detox.
  3. Educate yourself on the toxic ingredients in every vaccine. I recommend strengthening your natural immune defenses instead of relying on vaccines to get you healthy.
  4. Invest in a water filter for your kitchen sink that will remove aluminum, fluoride and many other contaminants such as chlorine.

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