by Dr. Pooneh Ramezani, DDS
Aluminum has been a controversial topic as of late, but why? Here we explore the harmful effects of aluminum, but first why it’s found in everyday products including toothpaste containers.
What is aluminum?
Aluminum is the most common metal found in the earth’s crust, but doesn’t occur as a metal in its natural state. To manufacture aluminum for everyday use, it’s processed in two phases.
First bauxite (a clay like soil and the world’s main source of aluminum) is mined and chemically refined to produce aluminum oxide (alumina). The alumina then goes through a smelting treatment (the extraction of metal from its ore by a method involving heating and melting) to release pure aluminum.
How and why is it used?
The lightweight yet durable characteristics of aluminum make it useful for a wide range of applications. The easily workable material is also corrosion resistant and recyclable. Because of this, many foods, beverages and personal hygiene products (like toothpaste) in the US are sold in aluminum packaging, especially because it helps prevent contamination.But, there have been rising concerns about our exposure to aluminum and for good reasons.
The Dangers of Aluminum Toxicity
As with other elements aluminum is absorbed through the bloodstream, but it also accumulates and robs the body of essential nutrients. This can be extremely dangerous since aluminum toxicity has been linked to all sorts of illnesses.
Brain and bone disease caused by high levels aluminum in the body have been found in children and adults with kidney disease. Since their bodies cannot properly remove aluminum through urine, there is an increase in aluminum. One of the mentioned brain diseases could actually be Alzheimer's.
For years, many experts have acknowledged a connection between Alzheimer's disease and aluminum, but since there was no proof there has been no agreement in the scientific community. However, a new study recently published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology may provide the proof of aluminum's role in the disease.
Researchers discovered high levels of aluminum in the brains of individuals, diagnosed with an early-onset form of sporadic (usually late onset) Alzheimer’s disease. This means that Alzheimer’s has a much earlier age of onset, for example, fifties or early sixties, in individuals who have been exposed to unusually high levels of aluminum in their everyday lives.
As a suggestion, we believe in taking all possible precautions to reduce the accumulation of aluminum in our bodies through everyday activities. It's now easier to avoid aluminum than ever before, by selecting items that proudly disclose their aluminum-free packaging such as the Dr. Brite Whitening Mineral Toothpaste. To ensure the safety of our consumers, their families and our planet, Dr. Brite packaging is recyclable, BPA-free and made without toxic chemicals.
Additional reading: Dr. Brite Eco-Friendly Initiatives
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