Aluminum toxicity occurs when a person ingests or breathes high levels of aluminum in the body.
Aluminum is the most plentiful metal in the earth’s crust. It is present in the environment combined with other elements such as oxygen, silicon, and fluorine.
Exposure to aluminum is usually not harmful, but exposure to high levels can cause serious health problems. If you think you have been exposed to high levels of aluminum, contact your doctor.
Because aluminum is found in food, water, air, and soil, people may be exposed to high levels of aluminum when they:
Anyone can develop this condition, but certain people are more likely to develop aluminum toxicity. The following factors increase your chances of developing aluminum toxicity. If you have either of these risk factors, tell your doctor:
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is because of aluminum toxicity. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician, especially if you have kidney disease or are on dialysis.
Complications may include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include the following:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
The medication, deferoxamine mesylate, may be given to help eliminate aluminum from your body. This substance works through a procedure known as chelation, which helps the body remove poisonous materials.
Your doctor can instruct you on how to avoid exposure to aluminum from your diet and other sources.
To help reduce your chances of getting aluminum toxicity, take steps to avoid the following, which may contain aluminum:
Talk to your doctor about your risk of aluminum poisoning from dialysis, immunizations that contain aluminum, and total parenteral nutrition solutions.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Environmental Protection Agency
Guide to Less Toxic Products
Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia
Poison Control Centers for Canada
Association of the Chemical Profession of Ontario
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Toxic substances portal: Aluminum. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=190&tid=34#bookmark08 . Updated October 27, 2011. Accessed April 2, 2013.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Igor Puzanov, MD
Last Updated: 11/26/2012