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Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2012-12-28 (EDT)

Aluminum is the most common metal in the earth’s crust. It has no known beneficial health function in humans, but it has been linked to several adverse effects at toxic levels and from long-term exposure.[1]


Aluminum can be found in food products, water, cans, antiperspirants, and medications. It is absorbed in low rates in the digestive tract, concentrates in bone and blood, and is excreted primarily by the kidneys. Industrial workers with high exposure to aluminum have an increased risk of lung and bladder cancer. A link between elevated aluminum levels and Alzheimer's Disease has been suggested.[2]

Associated Conditions

Conditions associated with exposure to aluminum and/or elevated aluminum levels include:[3] [1]


Common symptoms of aluminum toxicity and/or long-term exposure include:[3]

  • Speech Disturbance
  • Cognitive Decline
  • Seizures
  • Myoclonus
  • Increased Bone Fractures


  • The majority of aluminum exposure occurs from drinking water, aluminum cans, containers, and utensils used in cooking and food preparation.[1]
  • Cosmetics
  • Aluminum is found in some deodorants.[1]
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Some antacids contain aluminum, and may cause aluminum poisoning in individuals with renal impairment.[1]
  • Aluminum salts are used sparingly in dialysis to bind phosphates, and generally are not used for more than 2-3 months at lowest possible dose due to potential aluminum toxicity and associated encephalopathy and osteomalacia.[4]
  • Some vaccines contain aluminum and individuals with hypersensitivity to aluminum may develop nodules after injection.[5]
  • Industry:
  • Aluminum is used widely in industrial applications. Studies of individuals working with aluminum sulphates showed increased aluminum burden.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Hall AH, Shannon MW (2007) Shannon: Haddad and Winchester’s Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose 4th ed Chap 75 Other Heavy Metals Saunders
  2. Mcguigan MA (2011) Goldman:Goldman's Cecil Medicine 24th ed Chap 21 Chronic Poisoning: Trace Metals and Others Saunders
  3. 3.0 3.1 Aminoff MJ, So YT (2012) Daroff: Bradley’s Neurology in Clinical Practice 6th ed Chap 58 Effects of Toxins and Physical Agents on the Nervous System Saunders
  4. Quarles LD (2011) Taal: Brenner and Rector’s The Kidney 9th ed Chap 62 Vitamin D, Calcimimetic Agents, and Phosphate Binders
  5. Kelso JM (2008) Adkinson: Middleton’s Allergy: Principles and Practice, 7th ed Chap 67 Adverse Reactions to Vaccines for Infectious Disease Mosby
  6. Rhiihimaki V (2008) Behavior of aluminum in aluminum welders and manufacturers of aluminum sulfate – impact on biological monitoring. Scan J Work Environ Health 34(6): 451-62