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Aluminum — A Toxic Metal with Potential for Exposure

Aluminum — A Toxic Metal with Potential for Exposure
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From Environmental Health Symposium

Those of us that work in the area of clinical metal toxicology have not given aluminum toxicity the attention it deserves. With two excellent presentations by Chris Shaw PhD at EHS2021 and the new book by Prof. Chris Exley PhD on his research (Exley C. Imagine You are an Aluminum Atom Skyhorse Press 2020) it is time to give this toxic metal some attention. 

 (Al) is the third most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. In nature it is found complexed to silicon (alluminosilicates) and other minerals (phosphate, fluoride, chloride, etc.). According to the ATSDR’s monograph on aluminum: 

“Because aluminum compounds occur naturally and are widely used in industry, in the manufacture of household products, and in processing, packaging, and preserving food, the potential for human exposure to these compounds through ingestion of food and water and inhalation of airborne particulates is substantial.”

Al can be found in food, water, and air pollution as well as pharmaceuticals, injections, protheses and personal care products. It can be absorbed from the gut, lungs or the skin into the systemic circulation and distributed to the lung, liver, bone, muscle and brain, with the highest levels found in lung tissue (whether or not the lung tissue came from occupationally exposed individuals is not clear)

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