How can we reduce our exposure to potentially harmful aluminum?

A new report carried out by German officials suggests that even though exposure to dangerous aluminum compounds in foods has been decreasing, we are still ingesting more of this substance than experts deem safe. What can we do to minimize our exposure to aluminum compounds?

takeaway food in aluminium containers

While some people may find it hard to believe, the truth is that people face exposure to and likely ingest some quantity of aluminum compounds daily.

This regular exposure occurs because aluminum is present in many products, including food, cosmetics, baking tools, and, of course, aluminum foil.

Researchers explain that aluminum compounds are present in drinking water, helping to purify it, as well as being an additive in processed foods, where they serve a range of purposes, including as an emulsifying agent and a food colorant.

Sometimes, fresh fruit or vegetables contain aluminum compounds. This happens because human activities, such as mining, have contaminated the soil with aluminum.

Some cosmetic products, particularly deodorants, contain aluminum salts that manufacturers include to enhance the products’ antiperspirant effects.

This metal is also present in baking trays and other cooking utensils. However, its use is most apparent in cooking foil or takeaway tubs made out of it.

A new official report from the Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung, or Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in Berlin, Germany, indicates that while dietary exposure to aluminum compounds has been on the decline, people still ingest a relatively high amount of aluminum from other sources, which may prove harmful to health.

BfR researchers present their findings in a study paper that appears in the journal Archives of Toxicology. Thomas Tietz is the first author of the study.

Non-food products top source of exposure

“After oxygen and silicon, aluminium is the third most abundant element and thus, the most common metal of the earth’s crust,” write Tietz and his colleagues.

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