What Happens To Aluminum When It Enters The Environment?
Aluminum cannot be degraded down by the natural environment; at most, it can just transform into a different form. For example, aluminum can react with water in the form of either aluminum hydroxide or aluminum oxide.
Some aluminium can also become fixed to the earth’s crust, forming minerals. For example, it can create a chemical compound called bauxite. This mineral is often mined for use in producing objects like cans and foil or paper products like cups and plates.
Aluminum in the atmosphere forms bonds with minute particles, which then remain in suspension for a number of days. After that, the material is absorbed into the plant life of the atmosphere. Once inside a plant, aluminum combines with sulfur to form oxides.
Aluminum in soil is absorbed by roots and can be taken up again by plants. It is often used as a fertilizer for plants containing cellulose fibers like vegetables, fruits and grain crops.
All of this adds up to an enormous amount of aluminum that gets into our bodies through food and drinking water each year.
A trace quantity of aluminum will dissolve in water if the conditions are right, and this includes lakes, streams, and rivers. It can also be found in the depths of the ocean in ocean water.
Aluminum does not dissolve very easily in salt water, but it does dissolve readily when mixed with calcium (sea water) and magnesium (lakes and rivers).
It has been found throughout Australia and New Zealand. It is commonly found in the upper levels of lakes, bays and streams, which explains why it was originally believed to be a contaminant of these bodies of freshwater.
Some plant species are able to absorb it directly from the soil. This happens either through their roots or leaves. But there is a little bit of evidence that drinking distilled water with aluminum in it can cause some health problems.
This is not a common occurrence, and some people are at risk of disease if they do not drink enough water, which causes a high level of aluminum to collect in the blood.
I guess we can’t really be too worried about the amount of aluminum that gets into drinking water because it has been found to be relatively non-toxic and harmless to human health.
In the majority of plant and animal species, aluminum does not accumulate to a substantial degree. Aluminum is found in the tissues of a wide range of species, ranging from microorganisms to mammals. For example, it has been found in fruits, vegetables, grains and fish. It is thought that most of it gets into food plants during their growing process.
For example in peas, aluminum can be found in the seeds and flesh. This can have an effect on taste and texture by causing a loss of mineral content.
If this happens to food crops like wheat or corn, we will not get too many benefits from their products.
How Might I Be Exposed To Aluminum?
Aluminum may be found in virtually all foods, as well as in water, air, and soil.
Aluminum is found naturally in the environment, and it can be released into the atmosphere when it is used as an industrial chemical. The release of aluminum into the atmosphere will affect the health of humans and other living things.
A typical daily intake of aluminum for an adult in the United States is between 7 and 9 milligrams (mg). This is just a small amount, but it is allowed to enter our bodies because there are few limits on the amount of aluminum allowed into our systems.
Foods that contain aluminum may be imported. For example, rice can be imported from China, where it is often contaminated with heavy metals.
This can lead to many health problems in the United States because the food is then re-exported to us.
In this context, we need to keep in mind that there are no regulations controlling how much aluminum can be brought into the U.S.
The aluminum in our food environment is not always a problem; it helps to prolong the shelf life of foods like processed meats, cereals, and baked goods.
Contaminant aluminum is a matter of concern in foods that are imported from China and other countries because they have been found to have high levels of aluminum contamination.
In addition to food, we might also be getting some exposure to aluminum from air pollution caused by sources like factories, which result in the release of aluminum into the atmosphere.
Inhaling larger concentrations of aluminum dust that is present in the air at work. This can cause respiratory problems such as nosebleeds and sore throats.
Exposure to aluminum dust in homes that have been damaged by fire or other disasters, where the aluminum may have been found on the floor.
In situations like this, the health effects of inhaling contaminated air may be irreversible.
It has also been found that aluminum is present in our drinking water, but it is present in very small amounts.
Living in locations where the air is dusty, where aluminum is mined or processed into aluminum metal, where some hazardous waste sites are located nearby, or in areas where there is a naturally high concentration of aluminum in the environment.
Consuming foods or supplements with high quantities of aluminum, such as antacids, particularly while consuming citrus foods or beverages at the same time might exacerbate symptoms of acid reflux.
Vaccines carry a potential risk of exposing both children and adults to trace levels of the metal aluminum.
Aluminum is used in some vaccines to build up stronger immune response. However, there are some concerns about how aluminum may affect the body.
One of the most common uses for aluminum is to store and preserve foods, especially baked goods and canned foods.
It has long been assumed that the aluminum that we ingest from food has no effect on us because it does not dissolve easily in the stomach.
Aluminum utensils for cooking don’t let much of the metal into your body. Any aluminum that you do ingest with food is mostly passed out in the stool. So it is not clear whether aluminum ingested this way has any effect on our health at all.
Aluminum is also found in some anti-perspirants and deodorants, as well as some face powders, eye shadows, blushes, shampoos, and conditioners. It is considered to be safe because it is used in such small amounts that it doesn’t enter the body much.
This may come from other sources of aluminum exposure.
How Can Aluminum Affect Children?
Aluminum was commonly used in the medical treatment of children who were experiencing renal issues; these children eventually acquired bone ailments.
It would not appear that children are more susceptible to the negative effects of aluminum than adults.
Aluminum may or may not be linked to birth problems in humans, but we do not know for sure. There is no evidence that animals have birth abnormalities.
Aluminum, when present in high enough concentrations, has been demonstrated to be hazardous to developing animals and unborn animals because it can slow down the process of skeletal and neurological development. This is the case.
Aluminum is contained in breast milk; however, only a very little quantity of this aluminum will be absorbed into the body of the newborn as a result of nursing. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the potential risk of aluminum exposure.
Some studies have found that children may be exposed to aluminum in vaccines, but they have also found no evidence that this is harmful.
Aluminum has been linked to some neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, but there is no evidence that it causes these diseases.
However, there is enough reason for concern about the safety of vaccines that it would be wise to avoid the practice of giving babies multiple doses of a certain vaccine at once.
How Can Families Reduce The Risks Of Exposure To Aluminum?
Aluminum is so prevalent and pervasive in the natural world that it is impossible for families to live without coming into contact with it.
At the very least, they will come into contact with it in the air they breathe, the water they drink and store, and in certain foods.
The most important thing that families can do to protect themselves from aluminum exposure is to have a healthy diet. The best defense is nourishing one’s body with nutritious food.
Antacids containing aluminum should not be used in excessive doses, and buffered aspirin should be taken strictly according to the instructions provided.
Antiperspirants and deodorants with aluminum are generally considered to be safe because they contain such small amounts of the metal; however, it is best to avoid using these products on a regular basis.
Make sure the caps on all of the drugs are child-resistant so that youngsters won’t unintentionally consume them.
Aluminum cookware should not be used because it can get into the food and alter its flavor. For the same reason, aluminum foil should not be used in cooking because it can leach into food.
Aluminum foil is OK to use as long as it is kept away from heat and sharp edges, but this will only be a minor source of aluminum exposure in most homes.
Some children may swallow small amounts of aluminum through puddles on floors after walking through them with wet feet.
Is There A Medical Test To Determine Whether I’ve Been Exposed To Aluminum?
All humans have modest levels of aluminum in their bodies. Aluminum can be quantified in blood, bones, feces, or urine.
Urine and blood aluminum readings can tell you if you have been subjected to greater volumes of aluminum. Assessing bone aluminum can also show exposure to elevated amounts, but this needs a bone biopsy.