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  • the supposed dangers of aluminum

    It seems that somewhere along the way, I've heard people say that eating food cooked in aluminum pots can cause Alzheimers or something like that. I have no verifiable proof nor do I remember where I heard this.. But the question I would like to pose to the board is this:

    Of you guys (and Gals) that work with aluminum, do you find that after a long day or two of grinding, sanding,polishing and/or handling the stuff that you become a little cranky, easily angered or bad tempered? thinks for a second abou this because if this is the case, it is very subtle. Every person Ive ever talked to that works with AL seems to be a little grouchy.

    I must say that at times I do find this to be factual in my own personal experiences especially when im grinding. the dust floats in the air and I can see it sparkle in the sunlight. This is about the time I remember to put on the mask...

    I had mentioned somewhere else that of all the elements in the periodic table, Aluminum will form the smallest of free floating particles. They exist in the micron size. I can just see this stuff getting into our lungs and then our bloodstream.

    But anyway, how do you feel after a day or a few days of working with the stuff?
    Will it weld? I loooove electricity!

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  • #2
    When ever I work with aluminum people try to stay away from me for a day or two........ But that's because it's such a DAM PITA!!

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    • #3
      I never worked with aluminum that much except to cook in it. I use a big aluminum pot to cook my chili and distribute to my friends. I never heard of any dangers other than the acid from tomatoes staining it.

      My guess would be it probably has a list of cautions on an MSDS sheet somewhere. Im sure all metals have some kind of preventive measures. I get the MSDS sheets on rods but just throw them in the file, never read them. Does anybody know if they are available for different metals ?
      Ken

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      • #4
        Ah...um, I can't remember. What was it we're talking about??
        Last edited by TS-Off-Road; 11-23-2007, 07:58 AM.

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        • #5
          The Alzheimers thing was a bust. I know iron deposits in the lungs are coughed back up.
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          • #6
            I heard a report that said Alzheimer's patients had elevated levels of AL. Long time ago, so don't have specifics or remember anything else. I don't get grouchy after working with Al. I like working with Al. It's when I get stuff that I am underpowered for and can't use AC tig that I get grouchy.

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            • #7
              I like aluminum. The stuff is great for alot of projects and its shiny silver too.
              (packrat syndrome)

              I should do more research on this subject.
              Will it weld? I loooove electricity!

              Miller 251/30A spool
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              Spectrum 625
              O/A
              Precix 5x10 CNC Router12"Z
              Standard modern lathe
              Cheap Chinese mill that does the trick... sort of...
              horizontal 7x12 bandsaw
              Roland XC540 PRO III
              54" laminator
              hammer and screwdriver (most used)
              little dog
              pooper scooper (2nd most used...)

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              • #8
                I welded aluminum every day for several months. Aside from some respitory irritation in the first week I was fine and happy.

                Now a full day of welding stainless will make me feel bad. I won't do a full day of stainless w/o a respirator.

                I have heard of the aluminum pot thing but like you don't remember where exactly.

                -James

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                • #9
                  I never thought about it much, but it does give me something to think about and research. My wife just thinks I'm crazy anyway.

                  Jim
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                  • #10
                    This is something I've paid attention to over the years. I remember seeing the scientist on 60 Minutes (or similar show) saying he was sorry for starting the idea that aluminum and alzheimers was related. His words were to not worry about any exposure, use the aluminum pans, and he chuckled about the whole mix up. Just because aluminum is found in alzheimer brains does not mean that is the cause - it may be a result. There is so much medical misinformation out there, so you have to always verify the source. Here's one that looks reliable:

                    http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a971219.html

                    But breathing hot metal fumes is not a normal everyday occurrence (for normal everyday people ). It would make sense to limit your exposure. I remember as a kid sanding a garden tractor down to prep it for painting, and wondering why I had that metallic taste in my mouth. Years later I learned that was a sign of toxic levels of metal in your system. Luckily I was a slacker ..

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                    • #11
                      not only working with it but if thats the case look whats in yalls anti persperaint.

                      i heard this a few years back but i dont think any hard evidence has come up yet
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                      • #12
                        As of this point in time, I understand that the cause of Alzheimer's disease is still an unknown. It's been said that in the brains of deceased victims, particles have been fond that were thought to be some form of aluminum but I think this theory has been discounted so far as far as it being a cause of Alzheimer's..

                        The best thing to do would be to avoid grinding the stuff if you can. At the same time, it would be prudent to wear some form of respiratory protection. Those 3-M dust masks are of limited value for a shop setting where you are doing lots and lots of grinding. In such a situation, the safest method would be to have a supplied air mask...of course almost no one does that so you are left with a nasty problem.

                        Besides any chemical changes that aluminum might be thought to cause, the issue of the metallic particles in your lungs is not a good thing in general. I don't know the correct name for metallic particles in the lungs. If it were sand particles, they call it silicosis. If it were coal dust, they call it pneumoconyosis (sp?) or more commonly, black lung.

                        One thing is obvious, if you get lots of foreign particles in your lungs, the human body will suffer from loss of air capacity. It could lead to emphysema and/or the formation of cycsts.

                        If you want references for all of this, I can't help you out. I was a safety consultant ito employers n the area of machining and welding for about twelve years for an insurance company and I was given this information during my training. Any good book on occupational safety will give you similar information. It's pretty much common knowledge amongst occupational safety people.

                        Despite all of the negatives, I still firmly believe that welding can be a very safe occupation if reasonable measures are taken to protect the employee (or the hobby welder like me).

                        You've got to protect those lungs. You won't get a second chance.

                        Happy Trails!
                        Last edited by Synchroman; 11-25-2007, 03:59 PM.
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