Humans experiencing increased exposure to aluminium
Posted on 28 August 2013, Keele University
Aluminium – the most abundant metal and third most abundant element of the Earth’s crust – has no known biological function and is a recognised environmental toxin. Human exposure to aluminium is implicated in a number of chronic diseases, including bone disease, auto-immune conditions, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
In an invited Perspective on Human Exposure to Aluminium, published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Environmental Science: Processes and Impact, Professor Christopher Exley, Professor of Bioinorganic Chemistry at Keele University, UK, describes the holistic view of living in the Aluminium Age and the implications for the human body burden of aluminium.
Human exposure to aluminium at least 30-fold over the last 50 years and is burgeoning, with currently 11 kg of aluminium metal being cast for every person on Earth each year! The great majority of this aluminium is newly extracted from its ores, as opposed to recycled, and it all has the potential at least to impact upon and accumulate within the human body.
Professor Exley provides a more complete definition of what actually constitutes the body burden of aluminium in humans and most importantly the potential for such to impact upon human health.
Professor Exley recognises that the Aluminium Age is, for now at least, here to stay and that for aluminium to continue to be used effectively and safely in our everyday lives it is of paramount importance that we recognise both its power for good and its potential to do harm where its applications are not fully understood or its safety has not been adequately tested.
“We cannot continue to be complacent about human exposure to aluminium. While the genie is out of the bottle, we do still have several wishes remaining and we should strive to use these to live safely and prosperously in the aluminium age,” he said.
One-third of Chinese faced with excess aluminium consumption
By RJ Whitehead 26-Aug-2013, Foodnavigator-asia
Alum-based baking ingredients are to blame for almost one-third of Chinese people consuming quantities of aluminium above the recommended maximum safe level in their diets, according to new research.
Speaking at food safety forum, Chen Junshi, who is professor at the institute of Nutrition and Food Safety at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, also revealed that 40% of the excess aluminium in Chinese diet comes from tainted flour alone. Chen’s research was based on 6,600 samples of 11 kinds of food.
Some Chinese food manufacturers overuse baking ingredients like alum to help make their flour products look and taste better.
However, as aluminium-free baking powders are often more expensive than alum, many manufacturers are reluctant to change the practice.
The consumption of aluminium in excessive quantities can lead to anemia, bone fractures, brain damage and dementia.
While the World Health Organisation a weekly intake of no more than 2mg per kilogram of body weight, 32.5% of the Chinese population ingest levels above this, according to Chen’s research.
Some 44% of the excess amount comes from flour, followed by steamed bread (24%) and fried dough sticks (10%) – a traditional snack for breakfast.
North is hardest hit
People in northern China, who traditionally prefer flour-based products such as noodles, absorb four times as much aluminum as those in the south, the study found.
People from this region have an average aluminum consumption of 2.9mg per kilogram of body weight – a quantity that is almost 1.5 times the recommended amount in China. Moreover, 43% of children aged between four and six eat 2.6 times the maximum recommended amount.
Last week, the Beijing Food Safety Administration identified kinds of substandard food times, including three cakes with excessive aluminum. The products were subsequently taken off the market.
According to Beijing Administration for Industry and Commence, the spot check revealed that cakes produced by Haoduoduo Pastries Factory and Kangle Food Factory in Hebei Province exceeded the threshold for food aluminum content by two to seven times. Possible causes include the use of aluminum molds and excessive baking powder.
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