Environmental Illness

Aluminum Toxicity

I was appalled in September 2002 when I noticed that spray anti-perspirants have been reintroduced into the American market. You, too, may have noticed that for many years, spray anti-perspirants were quietly removed from the market place. Now, they're back! The problem is: these products contain aerosolized aluminum, and I'm really concerned about the implications for Alzheimer's Disease.

For years, the American public has been conditioned to believe that scientific data will give us definitive direction and certainty on health issues. Well, we have compelling studies implicating inhaled aluminum in cognitive dysfunction and, specifically, Alzheimer's Disease.

In The Lancet, 2 May 1987, researchers at New York City's Mt. Sinai School of Medicine reported that they had reproduced the brain lesions found in Alzheimer's disease by exposing rabbits to inhaled aluminum. The aluminum not only showed up in the brain, but it also accumulated in the exact regions were the lesions of Alzheimer's disease occurs and in the frontal lobe, paralleling the olfactory nerve.

Another, unheralded, longitudinal study was published in November 1990 by Donald McLachlan at the University of Toronto. Longitudinal studies are important because they look at the effects of conditions over a long period of time. Between 1944 and 1979, gold and uranium miners in Northern Ontario were dusted with a finely ground aluminum powder in an attempt to combat silicosis, a lung disease caused by inhaling rock dust containing silicon. As they changed clothes before each daily underground shift, they were enveloped in a cloud of the powder for 10 minutes. The University of Toronto team tracked down these miners, gave them a test that measured cognitive function, and found that the dusted miners performed poorly compared with those not exposed to aluminum powder. And, the longer the exposure, the greater the loss in function. Some were even found to have impaired memory function.

The underlying problem is that Alzheimer's research is big business in the United States, and there are a number of theories andall competing for funding. The aluminum industry heavily funds the competing theories, and have worked hard to discredit the aluminum hypothesis. However, each of us has only been blessed with one brain. I think it behooves us to err on the side of conservatism. I, for one, don't want to hear "Oops, we were wrong" and after it's too late.

I haven't seen any new information contradicting this study; maybe the manufacturers hope it will simply be forgotten. For the future health of yourself and all your loved ones, please share this information. AVOID any aerosol products that contain aluminum in any form. In addition to spray anti-perspirants, the list would include baking aides which spray on flour, as well as leavening. We all must remain vigilant and read labels in order to protect our health.

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