Iceland - Alcoa and Aluminium

Iceland - Alcoa and Aluminium

Despite its natural abundance, aluminium has no known function in living cells and presents some toxic effects in elevated concentrations. Its toxicity can be traced to deposition in bone and the central nervous system, which is particularly increased in patients with reduced renal function. Because aluminium competes with calcium for absorption, increased amounts of dietary aluminium may contribute to the reduced skeletal mineralization (osteopenia) observed in preterm infants and infants with growth retardation. In very high doses, aluminium can cause neurotoxicity, and is associated with altered function of the blood-brain barrier. A small percentage of people are allergic to aluminium and experience contact dermatitis, digestive disorders, vomiting or other symptoms upon contact or ingestion of products containing aluminium, such as deodorants or antacids. In those without allergies, aluminium is not as toxic as heavy metals, but there is evidence of some toxicity if it is consumed in excessive amounts. Although the use of aluminium cookware has not been shown to lead to aluminium toxicity in general, excessive consumption of antacids containing aluminium compounds and excessive use of aluminium-containing antiperspirants provide more significant exposure levels. Studies have shown that consumption of acidic foods or liquids with aluminium significantly increases aluminium absorption,  and maltol has been shown to increase the accumulation of aluminium in nervous and osseus tissue. Furthermore, aluminium increases estrogen-related gene expression in human breast cancer cells cultured in the laboratory. The estrogen-like effects of these salts have led to their classification as a metalloestrogen.
Because of its potentially toxic effects, aluminium's use in some antiperspirants, dyes (such as aluminium lake), and food additives is controversial. Although there is little evidence that normal exposure to aluminium presents a risk to healthy adults, several studies point to risks associated with increased exposure to the metal.  Aluminium in food may be absorbed more than aluminium from water. Some researchers have expressed concerns that the aluminium in antiperspirants may increase the risk of breast cancer, and aluminium has controversially been implicated as a factor in Alzheimer's disease. The Camelford water pollution incident involved a number of people consuming aluminium sulfate. Investigations of the long-term health effects are still ongoing, but elevated brain aluminium concentrations have been found in post-mortem examinations of victims who have later died, and further research to determine if there is a link with cerebral amyloid angiopathy has been commissioned.
According to The Alzheimer's Society, the overwhelming medical and scientific opinion is that studies have not convincingly demonstrated a causal relationship between aluminium and Alzheimer's disease.Nevertheless, some studies, such as those on the PAQUID cohort,cite aluminium exposure as a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Some brain plaques have been found to contain increased levels of the metal. Research in this area has been inconclusive; aluminium accumulation may be a consequence of the disease rather than a causal agent. In any event, if there is any toxicity of aluminium, it must be via a very specific mechanism, since total human exposure to the element in the form of naturally occurring clay in soil and dust is enormously large over a lifetime.Scientific consensus does not yet exist about whether aluminium exposure could directly increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease.


from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium--->Health concerns
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