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Synopsis of the documentary film 

The Age of Aluminium​


Achy? Exhausted? Heart burn? Forgetful and easily confused? This film is a warning that aluminum may be the problem, even though most doctors seem unaware of the toxicity of this now-pervasive element. Keep in mind that until 150 years ago there was no metallic aluminum because high amounts of electricity are required to convert the ore (bauxite) to the shiny metal.


Despite the numerous modern uses of aluminum salts, you won't find much medical research on it. That is probably what made health professionals complacent about it. In this film, a toxicologist at the International Aluminum Institute in London, and another who works for the European Medicine Agency, both assert that aluminum is entirely safe. ​


And yet British researcher Christopher Exley’s lab found 23 ppm (parts per million) of aluminum in a woman’s brain tissue after she died of dementia as a result of a water district accident that put far too much aluminum sulfate into the tap water. There have been other serious symptoms in the town where this accident happened. For most people, just 3 ppm is considered problematic.


One of Exley’s published studies [not mentioned in the movie] found that bees have between 13 and 200 ppm aluminum, which may be an unsuspected factor in Colony Collapse. No one else has researched aluminum as a factor in bee die off.


Exley has studied aluminum for 30 years, ever since industrial air pollution led to acid rain and made rivers and lakes toxic to numerous life forms. His research explains how the acidity pulled natural aluminum from rocks, making it highly reactive; it collected in the gills, which blocked oxygenation, killing the fish.


Cancer researcher Philippa Darbre found that women with breast cancer had a higher body burden of aluminum than other women. It’s significant that these women had regularly used antiperspirants containing aluminum.


Besides the widespread use of the metal in airplanes, cans, abrasives (sand paper), window frames and automobiles, water districts use aluminum salts to clarify water because it is highly reactive. However, this leaves a trace in the water. Further study has led some water agencies to switch to iron instead, because the modern plethora of allergies and the rise in asthma (remember the fish with gill failure) may be due to aluminum.


Aluminum hydroxide is widely used in cosmetics to increase spreadability, and also in pharmacology as an adjuvant in vaccines so that the immune system reacts more strongly.


Aluminum is a key ingredient for heartburn remedies, and the higher rate of Alzheimer’s in people with long term use of these medications led to package inserts for those products that now include warnings like, “Long term use of high doses may lead to aluminum deposits in nerve and bone tissue. This may lead to brain damage (dementia) and anemia. In the case of renal insufficiency and long-term use, the aluminum level should be checked regularly.”


Back in the 1970s a disturbing problem arose in dialysis centers all around the world. Herwig Holzer, a kidney specialist, explains that diabetic patients suffered dramatic neurological problems similar to Alzheimer’s after a new ingredient, aluminum hydroxide, was used in preparing the dialysate fluid. These patients developed speech deficits and movement disorders. Up to 60% of the patients had seizures. Once the problem was found, calcium-based binders replaced the aluminum hydroxide. Many patients recovered as the aluminum gradually left their bodies.


Aluminum cans and cookware are less of a problem than aluminum salts. However, cooking acidic foods like tomatoes in aluminum pans causes aluminum to migrate into the food.


After decades of research, Exley says, “Pandora’s box has been opened.” Unfortunately, he adds, “Research into aluminum has been stopped, on purpose.”


Israeli scientist Yehuda Shoenfeld, edited a new text book (published by Wiley) on new autoimmunity diseases which appear to be related to aluminum in vaccines. Shoenfeld is not anti-vaccine, but he urges manufacturers to find alternative adjuvants to aluminum. Perhaps the fact that no animal or plant requires aluminum for any biological purpose should have been a warning to avoid it.


This film is a wake-up call to even the most aware consumer about the hazards of aluminum. Parents, doctors, public health officials, and regulators all have something to learn from watching it.


The Age of Aluminum  



Cover Story of Environmental Science