How toxic is aluminum

How harmful is aluminum to health?

Status: 03/20/2020 12:31 p.m. | archive
Special deodorants, so-called antiperspirants, contain a lot of aluminum.

Aluminum is suspected to be involved in the development of Alzheimer's and breast cancer. Although there is still no flawless evidence, studies have found above-average deposits of aluminum in the damaged brain cells of deceased Alzheimer's disease. Traces of the metal were also found in the lymph nodes of breast cancer patients.

How aluminum gets into the body

Aluminum mainly enters the body through food, cosmetics and medication:

  • Aluminum is naturally found in many Food, for example in nuts, cocoa, chocolate and cereals. We also take in aluminum through drinking water, vegetables and indirectly through contaminated animal feed.
  • More than half of the aluminum we ingest does not come from food, but primarily from cosmetics, such as from sunscreen, lipsticks and eye shadow.
  • Contains a lot of aluminum Deodorantsthat prevent sweating called antiperspirants. The aluminum salts stick together the sweat glands. But they get into the body through the skin, especially through micro-injuries such as those caused by shaving the armpits.
  • In lightening Toothpastes ("Whitening") aluminum oxides and aluminum hydroxides are often used to achieve the bleaching effect. Those who use the toothpaste on a daily basis can already absorb considerable amounts of aluminum.
  • Also Medication may contain aluminum, such as heartburn gels.

Most of the aluminum is excreted by the kidneys, but a small part is deposited in the bones, lungs and brain, for example. The European Food Safety Authority EFSA has therefore set a maximum tolerable amount for aluminum: 1 milligram per kilogram of body weight per week. For an average person who weighs 70 kilograms, that's 70 milligrams per week.

Tolerable maximum amount is exceeded quickly

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) published a detailed list of questions and answers on the subject and an estimate of the total aluminum intake of the population in Germany at the end of 2019. It included food, cosmetics and medicines, among other things. The authority came to the conclusion that the majority of the population already consumes "half of the tolerable weekly intake of 1 milligram of aluminum per kilogram of body weight" through food.

But the value is quickly exceeded: Those who use antiperspirants every day take in an additional 70 percent of the maximum tolerable amount. The maximum tolerable amount is reached quickly, especially in children and adolescents, as they usually weigh less than adults. Young women should also be critical, especially when it comes to cosmetic products, because in the event of pregnancy the increased values ​​can be transferred to the unborn child.

Avoid intake of aluminum

With a few measures, the aluminum uptake can be significantly reduced:

  • Acid and salty foods As a precaution, like fruit, cheese and ham, never store them in aluminum foil, because such foods destroy the fine oxide layer on the metal, so that the aluminum is unhindered in the food.
  • Caution is advised with gratinated fish fillets and others Ready mealsthat are placed in the oven with a bowl, because heat intensifies the process of peeling. Therefore take the food out of the aluminum bowl and cook it in a baking dish with baking paper.
  • Also at pretzel danger can lurk: If the baker does not use baking paper and the pretzels land directly on the aluminum tray, the pretzels can be contaminated with aluminum.
  • Are largely harmless Yogurt pot lid and Tubesas the metal is covered with an invisible protective layer to make the products more durable.
  • As Replacement for the classic aluminum foil best waxed paper - you can also make this yourself very well - or use breakfast bags, cling film or plastic cans.

This topic in the program:

03/21/2020 | 8:00 a.m.