Navigating Life in a World in Love with Aluminum

Did you know that aluminum is an ingredient in rocket fuel?   Did you know it is added to deodorant, cosmetics, and sunscreen?  …that is it sometimes used to make food cans or used to coat the inside of steel (tin) food cans?  Did you know virtually every cast iron or carbon steel pan company uses aluminum to sand blast their pan surfaces (except perhaps Skeppshult (still verifying this) and Blue Skillet Ironware?)

Did you know it is the most common metallic coating used to make mirrors, and most common abrasive used to make sandpaper?   It seems like every time I turn around, I hear about another application for aluminum!!  Crazy!!  Find a list of aluminum applications here.

Did you know that it is a neurotoxin, associated with Alzheimer’s disease?  Did you know that the highest amounts of aluminum ever recorded/found in a human brain was found in the brains of autistic children in a study published in the past 6 months?  The human body is supposed to be able to detoxify substances that don’t belong in the human body, but what if the body doesn’t know how to detoxify aluminum, or what if the body can eliminate aluminum ingested, but not aluminum injected (via a vaccine)?  We don’t know why the autistic children in that study had such high levels, but the fact that they were unable to eliminate the aluminum might lead us to believe that many other people may not be effectively eliminating aluminum either.

It’s time that we get to know our friend aluminum, who we’ve uncovered from the deep.  Aluminum is harmful to us when absorbed into the body, and the hazardous waste created from processing the ore pollutes everything and everyone.

In May 2015, I received my first of three doses of the Hepatitis B vaccine.  Soon after, my body and health gradually but surely began freaking out, the nervous system being the main deteriorating event.  Coincidence?  Science is now proving what we can intuitively surmise – aluminum hydroxide injected into the body causes damages our bodies.  This post from J.B.Handley posts all of the most recent research on aluminum in his mind-blowing blog post.  EACH of the three doses contained the following toxic substances, according to http://www.VaxCalc.org:

  • Aluminum 500mcg
  • Formaldahyde 15mcg
  • Peptone, Soy Exposure
  • Recombinant (GMO) yeast

The total 1,500mcg of aluminum injected into my bloodstream, and the health issues I am still dealing with two years later, became the catalyst for my exploration into the world of Aluminum and how it affects life.  I learned that aluminum plays no biological function, other than adverse, and that aluminum toxicity is associated with immune system damage, mitochondrial disorder (another link for mitochondria here), chronic fatigue, central nervous system and bone toxicity, anemia, impaired iron absorption — all of which is associated with autoimmunity.  We have known for a long time that it is associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  The neurotoxicity reduces nervous system activity, inhibits enzymes in the brain, inhibits uptake of dopamine, serotonin, etc.

If you want more information on vaccines specifically there are many truth tellers who have spent thousands of hours diving into the data and research.

Over the past decade, new research on aluminum toicity has emerged.  Biologist/professor Christopher Exley is on of the leaders in this field; he has spent the last 33 years researching the ecotoxicology of aluminum.  He wrote a fascinating article waking us up to the fact that as aluminum pervades our environment and all sectors of commerce and production, we are living in the “Age of Aluminum” or perhaps, “The [age of] Aluminum Tyranny.”

Christopher releases new research frequently, like this study linking aluminum with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  All neurotoxins and poisons have 

This film created by Bert Ehgartner, called the Age of Aluminum, is a fascinating dive into the mining and processing of aluminum ores.  I almost cried at minute 40:00 when the film shows millions and millions of tons of hazardous waste (industry term: “red clay” – alert it is NOT clay at all!) dumped onto who knows how many hundreds of thousands of acres.  The company owner says that his facility is capable of producing 6 million of tons of aluminum per year, so you can do the rudimentary math to imagine how many tons of hazardous ‘red clay’ is produced and added to the pile, each year.  The clay is let out of the back of dump trucks, and it slides/oozes out, plop-by-plop – into the ‘pit’ – looking strikingly similar to giant feces.

The film shares that the “production of aluminum requires 10 times as much energy than steel, and that energy is then contained within the metal, which is why liquid aluminum is so explosive…”  And minute 57:00 offers a very compelling explanation as to how the 9/11 twin towers fell so swiftly and quickly, as if someone had set explosives…..and it is directly related to the reaction between molten aluminum and water, which creates aluminum oxide and hydrogen gas, basically, a bomb.  However awful this is, it is a momentary relief to have an alternative theory to the typical 9/11 conspiracy theory of government-planted bombs.

According to Christopher Exley, all aluminum compounds/salts should be considered sources of biologically-reactive aluminum (AI3+) and what discriminates them is the rate at which they ‘dissolve’ to release AI3+.  If any manufacturer is claiming “safety” for their product containing any form of aluminum compounds/salts, they should present the data of the experiments that have been conducted to show (under the working conditions of the product), how much AI3+ is released to the surrounding environment and during what period of time.

Thus, this clarion call also pertains to the so-called ‘natural’ deodorant salt sticks, such as the one I used in the past: “Nature’s Pure Crystal Deodorant Stick…100% Natural,” made by DSA (Deodorant Stones of America), http://www.deodorantstones.com.   See below, it is made with aluminum!!!  Aluminum may exist in the Earth’s crust, but that doesn’t make it natural for biological life (this includes humans!) to absorb.  See more below on deodorant.

Right now, people are being forced to leave their villages, as climate change refugees….such as  in Ladakh, where the mountain glaciers on which they previously depended, have melted with the rising global temps, not to return.  As a result, the Ladakh villagers don’t have enough water to drink or to irrigate their subsistence food crops, although people are always attempting to temporarily adapt, like this local Ladakh civil engineer who has tried building artificial glaciers above the villages.  In Lima, Peru, the locals are harvesting fog using huge nets, as they have no other source of water now, due to changes in the climate and due to a groundwater having been tapped out and not replenished, which is due to a number of reasons – cause and effect is always a bit of a web.  Other populations are forced to leave their villages as the food they have always relied upon dies or becomes too toxic to eat, due to pollution from manufacturing or energy hydro dams upstream, like in many places on the Mekong river.  Often, pollution and/or climate change refugees are essentially forced to migrate and seek employment at the very factories causing the pollution, including aluminum plants.  The mining or extraction and processing of fossil fuel, cement, paper, aluminum and steel have fueled greenhouse gases and environmental pollution, but aluminum is a particularly toxic affair.

As I ponder these concepts, I quickly take inventory of my life through the lens of aluminum.  Here are the main areas I tag for further review:

  • Vaccinations
  • Drinking water and water filters
  • Hygiene and Personal Care products
  • Cookware
  • Other kitchen tools or devices
  • Electronic media devices (phone, computer, etc). (Although they may not be directly toxic, they are indirectly polluting aluminum into the earth, air and water through manufacture – same applies to items below).
  • Textiles
  • Household items that may be made of aluminum, such as lamps, jar lids, rain gutters, etc.
  • Transportation
    • Vehicles
    • Fuel

I do not include cosmetics, because they all contain toxins, most of which industry is not required to include in their ingredient labels – therefore I stopped using them altogether several years ago.  I’ve read that the AnnMarie skin care line is made with safe ingredients and transparency; however their products are expensive of course – I never liked makeup anyway!

I found that I did indeed need to change some of my choices or routines based on the information I found regarding aluminum.  The fruits of my exploration are below.  The short version: our ‘modern dream’ is killing us.  Aluminum is convenient, but toxic.  I’ma make a big deal to avoid supporting any thing or product that is made with, or out of, aluminum, including deodorant, cans, cookware with aluminum cores, and vaccines!!  There may be many other things to add to the list once I become more educated about the uses of aluminum.

Vaccinations

  1. When presented with an opportunity to vaccinate, review the ingredients and dosages of ingredients on http://www.VaxCalc.org
  2. Look for vaccination alternatives.  In my case, I was obtaining the Hepatitis B vaccine because it is required to work in a hospital setting — if I want to be in the system, I have to play by the rules sometimes; however, playing by the rules resulted in health so poor that I dropped out of nursing school and don’t currently have the ability to work an 8-hour nursing shift on my feet.  so….I would not get the vaccine if I could do it over again.  I would simply choose a different career, perhaps midwifery, regardless of how much I wanted to become an emergency pregnancy doctor and surgeon.  I’m certainly not helping anyone on any level in my current condition.

Drinking Water & Filters

I recognize that due to mining of aluminum ores, and the manufacturing methods used to process the ore into products we use every day, and industrial agriculture and facets of climate change causing acidification of water and soil which releases aluminum from the earth’s crust, and due to airplanes and rockets releasing aluminum, which is in their fuel….and a million other things….there is aluminum everywhere.  And when I say everywhere…I mean literally in every body of water from which we source our drinking water.  The water coming in to the water treatment plant from the Great Midwest Lakes already contains aluminum, as you will see below.

The film introduced above, teaches us that water treatment plants are in the habit of using aluminum ‘salts’ as a coagulant (aluminum salts bind to the ‘dirt’ particles, causing them to sink to the bottom of tank as sediment), allowing the less turbid water to be siphoned off.  The film tells us that France looked at this practice, and through studies at Bordeaux, found that residual aluminum remained in the final product – drinking water.  It is implied that they thought that at least some of the residual aluminum was from the aluminum salts used to coagulate.  Thus, France switched from using aluminum salts, to iron ‘salts.’  I think this study may be the one they were referring to, which found that people “exposed to aluminum concentration greater than 0.1 mg/liter” were at risk for Alzheimer’s.

To put this in perspective, my city’s source water had the following levels of aluminum in 2016:

  • Highest measured:  0.123 mg/liter
  • Lowest measured: 0.005 mg/L
  • Median: 0.023 mg/L

The water after undergoing treatment had the following aluminum levels in 2016:

  • Highest measured:  0.159 mg/liter
  • Lowest measured: 0.021 mg/L
  • Median: 0.051 mg/L

The treatment plant informed me that the allowable level of aluminum, as defined by the government is: .05 -.2mg/L.  Why the lower end of the spectrum is .05 mg/L is quite odd to me – wouldn’t it be optimal to have zero mg/L of aluminum?!?!?!  But the kicker here is that there is SIGNIFICANTLY MORE ALUMINUM, POST TREATMENT!!!!!!!!!  I’m sure this is what they found in France, and why they changed.  Although our highest measured amounts after treatment are higher than the .1 mg/L exposure limit the Bordeaux study said is associated with Alzheimer’s, the median amounts of aluminum measured are less than .1 mg/L.  However, I think it better we not continue to increase the amount of aluminum in our waterways through this practice.

I asked my city’s water treatment plant – “do you use aluminum salts to coagulate?”  They informed me that yes, they have been using aluminum sulphate as a coagulant since 1938, and “it has always worked.”  I asked them if they ever consider switching to iron, aka ferric or ferrous, powder/salts, instead.  They replied that no, they don’t ever consider this except when a ‘salesman’ calls, offering iron powder for sale.  I asked to speak with the manager to see if there is a fundamental reason that they would be opposed to using iron powder, or if they had simply not considered using iron salts because no one had ever asked for it be used.  I’m waiting for a call back.  They insisted that none of the aluminum sulphate finds its way into the finished product, but as we see from the numbers above, this is completely false. 

When aluminum sulphate is put into water, it ‘dissolves’ into two separate substances – aluminum, and sulphate, or sulfate.  If there is no reason to not use iron powder instead, we SHOULD use it!  As the film shows us, any ‘mistakes’ at the treatment plant could unleash this toxic chemical aluminum, causing destruction and horrible health effects and premature death, as in the case of the poor wife of the husband interviewed in the film.  If there are safer alternatives, [iron powder], we should embrace them!  The treatment plant did say that it is considered standard practice to use aluminum salts to treat water that is high in turbidity, such as the water from lively Lake Michigan.  They said that it is practically impossible to test new chemicals, as there is no “pilot plant” on the great Lakes.  They said that any new chemical used in treatment would be an experiment on the public, and that is not a good way to go about business.  I have to agree with that….but we have to do something about this.  Aluminum is not the way to go.  there is always a better answer…we just have to figure it out.  There must be a way we can use iron salts….to be continued….

Fluoride added to Drinking Water – a byproduct of the aluminum industry

The following is an excerpt taken from the Washington Action for Safe Water website, which is led in part by Audrey Adams, who has an autistic son who is extremely sensitive to fluoride, and who experiences excruciating pain after ingesting fluoride via drinking water or via absorption from shower or bathing water.  Just because you or I don’t experience overt signs of sensitivity like her son does, doesn’t mean that we are not negatively affected!  Everyone’s health is absolutely affected.  Read more on my post dedicated to fluoride.

Where do artificial fluoridation chemicals come from?

The main chemicals used to fluoridate drinking water are known as “silicofluorides” (i.e., hydrofluorosilicic acid and sodium fluorosilicate).  Silicofluorides are not pharmaceutical-grade fluoride products; they are unprocessed industrial by-products of the phosphate fertilizer and aluminum industries. Since these silicofluorides undergo no purification procedures, they can contain elevated levels of arsenic — more so than any other water treatment chemical.

 

Berkey Water Filter

Although the Berkey black carbon component filters out more than 99% of aluminum (see their test results), it cannot filter out fluoride after the first hundred gallons or so as Berkey explains on their website, because ‘filtration elements that reduce fluoride begin to lose that ability quickly,‘ and that ‘it takes a very large amount of media to reduce small amounts of Fluoride.  Therefore, there is not enough media in filters to reduce fluoride effectively over the long term.

The PF-2 filter that you can purchase/add to your Berkey system is designed to filter out fluoride and arsenic, via the aluminum oxide media it contains, which may release aluminum into water that you’ve worked so hard to gravity filter in the first place.  Berkey’s knowledge base says:

“Pure aluminum is water-soluble, it is highly reactive and it is associated with negative health effects.  By contrast, aluminum oxide [that we use as the media to filter out fluoride in the PF-2 filter] is not water-soluble; it is inert, is very stable, and is not associated with negative health effects.”  

While they may be effective in reducing fluoride in some situations (see below for limitations related to water pH),  peer-reviewed scientific study is needed to convince me that aluminum is not being released from this filter.  I consulted an aluminum ecotoxicologist regarding aluminum oxide, and they advise that we should be cautious with aluminum oxide as with any form of aluminum, until studies demonstrate safety in various applications.  Fluoride is damaging in the body, and I’ve read that it can aid aluminum in its ability to cross from the gut to the blood, but I must weigh pros and cons.  If fluoride levels are below 0.5 ppm (mg/L)  in the water, I believe the fluoride may be less of a concern than the potential aluminum released from the PF-2 Berkey filters.

However, if the pH of the water is 7 or higher, the PF-2 filters won’t work anyway!!!  This limitation is stated on the Berkey website, but I feel is almost always missed by purchasers.  It actually seems a tad scummy that Berkey doesn’t put this limitation in bold and underlined red font on the PF-2 product page.  The median pH of my city’s water was 7.26 in 2016 — so, the PF-2 filter wouldn’t work for me.  Plus, they must be replaced much more often than the black carbon filter, which is good for 3,000 gallons.  Remember, ‘it takes a very large amount of media [aluminum] to reduce small amounts of Fluoride.  Therefore, there is not enough media in filters to reduce fluoride effectively over the long term.‘  It seems that finally, we have a case where aluminum cannot really ‘save the day.’  Sooner or later, we find that the toxins we use to fix other toxic problems have limitations.

Hygiene & Personal Care Products

First, sunscreen.  Many sunscreens contain aluminum to make the product more ‘spreadable.’  Many sunscreens also use nano zinc, but that’s a story for another day.  Holistic Squid’s blog has a homemade sunscreen recipe that makes for a spreadable, water-resistant sunscreen that will keep for a year unrefrigerated.  On cooler mornings, she adds some oil to the amount she squeezes out as the cooler temp can change the consistency slightly.  Here is the link to her recipe: http://holisticsquid.com/homemade-sunscreen/.

And the personal care product I find most important, when discussing aluminum, — deodorant — because many of us use this every single day.

For many years, I thought that my ‘Natural Deodorant Salt Crystal Stick’ was totally safe.  Myth!!!!!  After reading the information on the company website, I learned that the crystal is made of ‘potassium alum.’

“…potassium alum (KAI(SO4)2-12H2O), drawn from bauxite ore.  Bauxite ore is formed by the rapid weathering of granite rocks in warm, humid climate and can be purified and converted directly into alum.  Unlike aluminum, alum is a salt.  If an aluminum-metal compound, such as the highly soluble aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium, is used as an antiperspirant, that compound is readily absorbed.”

As soon as I saw the word “alum” I was on alert.  This substance is, in fact, aluminum.  Their claim that the compounds are too large to be absorbed makes absolutely no sense to me.  And it appears that no studies have been done to back up this claim.  The People’s Pharmacy has a web page dedicated to this topic, containing more than enough information that only increases my conviction to not use this product anymore.  Plus, an aluminum toxicologist advised that potassium aluminum is actually no different than ‘plain ol’ aluminum.

Remember…all aluminum compounds/salts should be considered sources of biologically-reactive aluminum (AI3+) and what discriminates them is the rate at which they ‘dissolve’ to release AI3+.  If any manufacturer is claiming “safety” for their product containing any form of aluminum compounds/salts, they should present the data of the experiments that have been conducted to show (under the working conditions of the product), how much AI3+ is released to the surrounding environment and during what period of time.

How to avoid the aluminum-laden store-bought?  Everyone is different, so try the things listed in my post dedicated to deodorant, and find out what works for you.

Remember — you need to sweat — your skin is porous for a reason.  But, you’ve guessed it – homemade deodorants are not as powerful as the commercial varieties – consider this a good thing 🙂  Yes, we need to often change our definitions of “good” 🙂  We can’t always have our cake and eat it too.  At least not right now.

Secondly, everyone needs a little moisturizer from time to time!   Although everyone is obsessed with coconut oil for food consumption and body care products, I believe we should try to use ingredients which ‘grow’ in our region, and as I am located in the Midwest, coconut trees are out!  Beef tallow moisturizer is so simple to make, so moisturize away!

Cookware

I’ve struggled with this, as the safest cookware always seems to be the heaviest.

A general bit to keep in mind is that when cooking foods that are acidic, ingredients in your cookware will leach into the food – it is simply a question of how much.

I currently use cast iron pans, even though the metal covers I’ve repurposed never quite fit.

A few years ago I came across the Dr. Mercola-approved Xtrema ceramic cookware.  I’m curious how light or heavy they are.  I’ve asked the company to share more details on the manufacturing process and a sustainability report, but they have not shared any information yet.  Although the substance and glaze is ‘inert’, having been fired at incredibly high temperatures, the glaze they use contains aluminum!!  And we need to stop mining, processing, and using aluminum!!

“ENAMEL INGREDIENTS INCLUDE:
Nitrates, Potash, Agile, Aluminate, Bentonite, and Clay.”

If metal cookware is really needed,  The Kitchen Professor’s blog suggests a copper-core, aluminum-free stainless steel (18/10) brand — Sitram’s Catering line, as a quality option.  I haven’t attempted to source this myself.

Solar stoves are another amazing cookware option.  There are several types, but my favorites are manufactured and sold by GoSun.  I include these here because the cooking surface is built into the stove’s design, so no other pots or pans are needed.  I looked at the specs of their stoves, and I was disappointed to learn that their innovative parabolic reflectors are indeed made of aluminum, as is the extrusion of the stove’s thermal battery.   I emailed the company, asking if there are any other materials that could be employed instead.  Here is what they said:

“I am passing your suggestions along to our founder.  We wish to leave the smallest imprint possible, while changing human behaviors for the better.
Thanks for sharing that, I didn’t know about the ore processing issues!”

Read more about cookware options here.

Textiles (Dye Mordants)

During my travels in Guatemala, I met wonderful people, including a textile professional who had ‘set up shop’ in a small town on beautiful Lake Atitlan, with the purpose of helping the local women hone their textile techniques to increase their income and quality of living (local Mayan and Guatemalan women have a RICH tradition of weaving on backstrap and Spanish floor looms, dying the fibers and textiles, and then creating amazing products from purses to clothing).  She explained that due to shortages in certain plants and foods that the women had traditionally used to mordant the dyes (this makes the colors last despite laundering and sun exposure), she was teaching them to use more effective mordants, such as alum.  I started to become a bit sad.

Lake Atitlan is a magical place…it is a lake in the center of three volcanoes.  During the 1980s, it was home to untold violence in the civil war, which was greatly instigated and fueled by the political and financial meddling of the United States.  As is always the case, white men with power and weapons created a downward spiral of destruction and unsustainability in all aspects in these indigenous people’s lives.  I’m not saying the United States government’s meddling is the only factor…but the US government always tends to make things a bit worse, if not awful – greedy hands in the pot make a poisonous stew.  Throughout the years of socio-economic-political struggle and infiltration of modernity, the ecosystem of the lake and surrounding areas have declined in health, and the lifestyles of the people have changed in ways that have made them less able to subsist healthfully and happily.  I thought of how it might look several decades later, as the alum and other modern chemicals continue to run into the lake, which has no outlet and is not connected to other bodies of water.  They have already seen the extinction of species, such as the Atitlan Grebe.

I am ignorant of the health quality of those who live in the lake villages, but we all know what happens to humans as the environment becomes polluted — the same thing that happens to animals!

In summary, aluminum is a mordant used in dyeing textiles – and almost all hobby and home dyers will insist that alum is safe – heck, most people have a jar of alum in their kitchen spice drawer – to be used as a preservative!  This ‘alum’ is aluminum sulphate.  When aluminum sulphate is put into water, it ‘dissolves’ into two separate substances – aluminum, and sulphate (sulfate).

Other Kitchen Tools & Devices

Anytime I need to purchase a device, I’m going to ask the manufacturer if it has any aluminum components, and avoid those that do.  We don’t need more mining and manufacturing of aluminum components…this is just polluting our environment, and us, further.

Electronic media devices (phone, computer, etc)

I’m sure all of my electronic media devices contain lots of aluminum, but I will have to learn about this!   I am totally ignorant of what materials are in my electronic devices.   I know that one way to avoid additional waste of any kind is to use a corded home phone.  My mom still has the home phone she bought over 40 years ago – it is still working perfectly!  Can we even approach such a track record with our disposable mobile phones?  Never!

Computers seem to always break and become obsolete.  I wish that we would demand that our government punish manufacturers who design products with an expiration date (planned obsolescence), and rather require manufacturers to establish robust repair and fix-it divisions.  To create a culture in which we frown upon companies with a continuous stream of annual new aesthetic designs in order to sell more product!  Oh the dreams!!!    I see no reason why we can’t re-use the shell of our computers over and over again, and simply replace small parts within.  I understand that the ever-thinner computer and screen TV is appealing for the home, but we are quite spoiled.  And to that point — why are we obsessed with the pursuit of reduction in size?  For phones it makes sense that we want smaller and lighter for ease of carry, but for the home, we want smaller and flatter because, let’s face it — electronics are ugly!  We want to minimize their aesthetic presence as much as possible.  I see benefit it smaller electronics in that less material is needed in total to encase the components, etc, but to continually replace and throw out less sleek designs —- we are quite spoiled indeed.

Kyle Wiens created http://www.iFix.com, creating manuals for apple products, seeing that apple appear to be deliberately not empower consumers with product manuals anymore.  How can we or fix-it-shops repair these products if they don’t have manuals….not to mention replacement parts?   Anyone who has a knack for repair can use the information on this site to fix products….and save money!

Transportation

Planes, trains and automobiles.  What about boats, bikes, animals and legs/feet?  After considering the information below, there is no win here, as is usually the case with transportation.  I’ve always romanticized about families living close together again, as was the case in past times.

  • Cars/Buses – I believe aluminum is commonly used in alloys to make car frames, but I’d have to read more about this.  Cars are not my area of expertise 🙂
    • Boats – I have no idea, would like to learn
    • Train – I have no idea, would like to learn
    • Airplanes – aluminum was (is still?) used in airplane fuel.  I guess this is yet another reason to put airplanes on the no-no list.
    • Space Shuttles – ditto on fuel.  aluminum was (is still?) used to make the heat-resistant tiles which prevented space shuttles from burning up upon its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Navigating Life in a World in Love with Aluminum

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