Aluminum in drinking water - how dangerous is that?

The decades-long debate over whether or not aluminum is involved in the development of Alzheimer's has recently flared up again. It has also raised some concern over how much aluminum may be present in our drinking water. What risk actually exists according to the current state of science, where are the limits of aluminum for drinking water and what arguments for and which speak against a threat, you can read here.

Properties of aluminum

Aluminum is the third most abundant element found in the earth's crust and also by far the most abundant metal. Only oxygen and silicon are present on Earth in even higher quantities.

However, aluminum is a base metal and therefore occurs almost exclusively in bound form. Often, aluminum silicates, which are found in clay, gneiss and granite in nature, among others. Corundum, sapphires and akdalaite also contain aluminum compounds, in this case aluminas.

Use of aluminum

As a particularly light metal, aluminum is used very frequently in our everyday lives. It is used very often in the construction of equipment, motors, but also as packaging material.

Health hazards due to aluminum

In the 1970s and 1980s, aluminum was considered suspicious of triggering Alzheimer's. This hypothesis, which was rejected in the 1990s, has recently been revisited because aluminum deposits have also been found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

In dialysis patients with impaired renal function, so-called encephalopathies (disturbed brain functions with speech disorders and damage to the central nervous system) often occur, which are attributed to aluminum, because it occupies the same storage whites as iron, but there develops a possibly toxic effect on nerve cells.

Aluminum is considered a non-essential trace element for our body. Science assumes that aluminum taken in with food will be excreted unchanged. In contrast, aluminum salts are water-soluble and are excreted predominantly via the urine. On average, our body contains between 50 and 150 mg of aluminum.

Also deodorants and almost all foods contain aluminum, above all tea and chocolate, with 385 mg pr kg or nearly 100 mg per kg the largest aluminum suppliers in our diet. Beer is also transported exclusively in aluminum barrels.

However, according to the Federal Office for Risk Assessment (BfR), a relationship between aluminum exposure and Alzheimer's risk can not be assumed.

The high levels in food and in our everyday life make this also not plausible, since virtually everyone is equally exposed, but not everyone gets Alzheimer's.

Limit values ​​for drinking water

According to the Drinking Water Ordinance, the limit value for aluminum in drinking water is 0.2 mg / l.

Tips & Tricks

Given the aluminum content of tea or chocolate, this limit appears to be very conservative. Moreover, in the rarest of cases, it is only approximately achieved. Almost every drinking water in Germany is still far below this value in terms of aluminum contamination. It can therefore be assumed that just drinking water - as so often - involves the least danger.

Video Board: Ted Broer Discussing the Dangers of Flouride and Aluminum in Drinking Water