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Aluminum is one of the most common minerals on earth, and it is found in hundreds of popular products we use every day. It is used to treat the water we drink from city pipes, but it is also a key ingredient in antacids and antiperspirants, not to mention the pots and pans in our kitchens. How does aluminum affect health?

In the past, researchers have speculated that aluminum may contribute to the burden of Alzheimer’s disease among industrialized populations. Although there is no definitive research linking aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease, there are now other concerns. Might aluminum exposure increase the risk of breast cancer?


Philippa D. Darbre, PhD, is Reader in Oncology in the School of Biological Sciences, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at The University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, UK.

Christopher Exley, PhD, is Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry at The Birchall Centre of Lennard-Jones Laboratories in Keele University, Staffordshire, UK. He is also Honorary Professor at the University of the Highlands and Islands. The photo is of Dr. Exley.

His website is http://www.keele.ac.uk/aluminium
Kris G. McGrath, MD, is Professor in Medicine-Allergy-Immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL.

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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  1. sreveal

    I listened to this broadcast with interest, particularly the study showing a correlation between wide use of antiperspirants and increase in breast cancer in the outer quadrant. As someone who was at high risk for breast cancer and scheduled for a phrophylactic bilateral mastectomy a week later, I stopped using my antiperspirant that day.
    I’d used antiperspirants since they began being sold with deodoorants in the late 60s. Following my surgery, the pathologist found a small cancerous tumor from tissue in the outer quadrant of my left breast.

  2. J. Allaman

    I always enjoy and learn from your show and have shared it with friends, thanks for bringing us your insite.
    All chemicals in our drinking water consern me, the terrible incident in the UK with the Aluminum Sulfate (?) being placed incorrectly in the water source is terrifying. We must all do for ourselfs the best we can as Government over site, much less business watching out is limited at best. Drinking distilled (to best leach out the bad toxins) water is my preferred solution with a good multi a day to replenish the necessary elements required.
    I found this technical bulletin from the water quality association, http://www.wqa.org/pdf/TechBulletins/TB-Aluminum.pdf , for their limited standing on the matter.
    Thank you Terry & Joe for keeping us up to speed on so many matters.

  3. abigail

    I’d like to know about using aluminum foil for baking. Lately I’ve been doing what a friend of mine calls “assisted living”, doing things that make it easier for me to continue to live independently. One of these things is lining baking pans with aluminum foil to minimize the need for scouring them, something I stopped doing because of worries about aluminum but have recently started doing again.

  4. Chris

    Hi C.L.,
    Wikipedia lists the silica content of Volvic as 31.7 mg/litre http://bit.ly/fZQuJv
    As a pure layman though, I would speculate that if you were to consume the standard 1.5L – 2L per day of this water it would be extremely difficult to reach a toxic level in your body – for example the European Food Safety authority recommends a safe daily limit of 700 mg.
    I would also speculate that this may be one reason why Prof. Exley’s research focuses on water as a mechanism to remove aluminium from the body. Unless one is drinking very large dangerous amounts of water (rare) then it’s a safe and necessary protocol.
    It should also be mentioned that foods like peppers, oats, brown rice, leafy green vegetables are all sources of silicon dioxide.
    As usual the classic healthy diet is probably the best way to address this issue, perhaps supplemented by a normal intake of “good” water.

  5. SoniaK

    For a deodorant this works for me: a paste made from baking soda with just enough water to make a paste. I apply right after shower + any time in between as needed. I used to use super strong anti-perspirants. As I’ve entered my 60’s the need is less pronounced and the baking soda does the trick! Try it

  6. C.L.

    We enjoyed Prof Exley’s interview by Terry and Joe.
    Anybody know how much silica is typically in those brands of mineral water that he mentioned? I’ve used a silica tab of 500 mg horsetail extract for increasing the strength of my hair. The supplement bottle says there are 35 mg of silica in that tab. We’re wondering how that amount of silica would compare to what would be in any one serving of those mineral water brands mentioned by the professor??
    After decades, my husband and I continue to appreciate and enjoy immensely your books and your radio broadcasts and any TV programs in which you are also included. Many, many thanks.

  7. Jackie W

    How much silica is safe, say as a supplement? I read that to much is dangerous with many bad side effects. How many Fiji waters per day would be recommended?

  8. l. grogan

    I uses Toms of maine, and i buy the one that says ALUMINUM FREE! I will stay with this, as I believe he knows what he’s talking about. The info. he gave was vvery interesting

  9. jhy

    I shied away from antiperspirants long ago. It was very helpful to learn about the benefits of mineral water and how prevalent aluminum is in our life. A great show!

  10. ms

    How far behind can the medical establishment possibly be !? Dr. Chris Exley cycles to work so he cannot concede to foregoing an anti-persperant . . . Since the early 1970’s among the natural foods movement people it was common knowledge NOT to use deodorants containing aluminum.
    That was 40 years ago ! Tom’s of Maine products have been available for at least 35 years.
    How can funding for research be ‘hard to come by’ when it is so straight-forward and simple.
    The existing cancer research is BIG BUSINESS as are the so-called treatments for cancer. Tragically there is little WILL on the part of the pharmaceutical companies to correct the obvious harmful effects of environmental toxins on our health.

  11. A. White

    I always learn something helpful from your shows. Thanks. I, also, would like to know the name of the mineral water to flush the aluminium from our systems.
    You may want to go back and listen to Professor Exley’s free extended bonus interview:
    He talks about Fiji water and Volvic with high silica content.

  12. DS

    No more aluminum antiperspirant in this house! Thank you for this interview with Dr. McGrath.

  13. GL Seabolt

    I cannot understand the name of the silicon rich mineral water the doctor mentioned. It sounded like Figi water or Volvic. Is this close enough? Can we get this at pharmacy or health food store? In plastic bottles? Just wondering.
    Love, love your program; listen every Saturday morning and now I’ve found your web site so am leaving this question with you.
    Thank you so much.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: You got quite close: Fiji water or Volvic. They are in plastic bottles :( You’ll find them at the grocery.

  14. Jo Ann

    Does cooking with aluminum pots, pans, and utensils increase the probability of developing Alzheimer’s disease?

  15. Franc

    You overlooked one of the largest scources of aluminum. The aluminum that is mixed with jet fuel and is emitted in the contrails. If aluminum can be linked to altzheimers, what about autism?

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