What is Aluminum – Definition
Aluminum element occurs naturally in nearly all foods, the average dietary intake being about 20 mg/day. Aluminum salts are widely used in antiperspirants, soaps, cosmetics, and food additives. Aluminum is common in both raw and treated drinking waters, especially those treated with alum. It is estimated that drinking water typically represents only a small fraction of total aluminum intake. Aluminum element shows low acute toxicity, but administered to certain laboratory animals is a neurotoxicant. Chronic high-level exposure data are limited, but indicate that aluminum affects phosphorus absorption, resulting in weakness, bone pain, and anorexia.
Carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, and teratogenicity tests have all been negative. Associations between aluminum and two neurological disorders, Alzheimerâs disease and dementia associated with kidney dialysis, have been studied. Current evidence suggests that Alzheimer disease is not related to aluminum intake from drinking water, but other sources of aluminum appeared to be associated with Alzheimer. Dialysis dementia has been reasonably documented to be caused by aluminum. Most kidney dialysis machines now use specially prepared water.
Aluminum element was included on the original list of 83 contaminants to be regulated under the 1986 SDWA amendments. USEPA removed aluminum from the list because it was concluded that no evidence existed at that time that aluminum ingested in drinking water poses a health threat (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1988b). USEPA has a secondary maximum contaminant level (SMCL) of 50 to 200 Î¼g/L to ensure removal of coagulated material before treated water enters the distribution system.