After oxygen and silicon, aluminum is the third most abundant element today, and the most abundant metal, making about 9% of the earth’s crust. This element is found everywhere; in the air, soil, plants and even water. While most plants are known to have low aluminum quantities, few are known as accumulators. These accumulators include some types of grasses, tea plants and orchids.
Common Uses of Aluminum
This element is used widely in food, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries.
• Food industry; this element is found in numerous beverages and food products such as vegetables, fruits, wine, beer, flour, seasonings, nuts, cereals, baby formulas, dairy products, and even honey. An adults ingests about 8 grams of aluminum per day
• Manufacturing industry; this metal is used in the making of roofing materials, airplanes, siding, fuels, paints and pigments, as well as cigarette filters. It is also found in food related items such as pans, pots, beverage cans, food foil, as well as storage containers
• Health products; aluminum is found in vaccines, antiperspirants, antacids and buffered aspirin
Using Aluminum in Vaccines
Aluminum in vaccines acts as an adjuvant. A vaccine adjuvant is a component that is used to boost the immune response of the body to the vaccine. When the response is increased, fewer doses are required and hence lesser quantities are administered.
Aluminum is one of the known effective adjuvants today. It was discovered in 1926, and has since been taken through rigorous tests to ascertain its safety in making vaccines. Some of the vaccines that have aluminum adjuvant in them include the following.
• Hepatitis A and B
• Tetanus and diphtheria
• Flu type B
• Pneumococcal vaccine
• Viral vaccines such as mumps, measles, varicella, rubella, rotavirus
Aluminum salts monophosphoryl A and squalene are the most commonly used adjuvants in making vaccines, and the only variants of the metal allowed in the USA. Monophosphoryl is a detoxified bacterial compound while squalene is the body’s cholesterol synthesis pathway compound. These two are used in small quantities in vaccines.
The amount of aluminum contained in vaccines is the same as that found in about a liter of baby formula. Infants get bout 4mg of aluminum from vaccines in their first 6 months of life, and receive much more in their diet. For example, purely breastfed infants ingest 7mg of aluminum, those who are formula fed get 38mg and those on soya formula get about 117 mg in the first 6 months of their life.
Are Aluminum Vaccines Safe?
The mention of the word aluminum vaccines make most parents uneasy, mostly because there are talks of brain and bone disease caused by long term exposure to high aluminum amounts. What many fail to know is that this metal is a naturally occurring component that can be found in a wide range of items consumed today. Most of the food items today contain aluminum, including breast milk!
Before any substance is used in vaccines, it is subjected to rigorous tests and scientific studies. Aluminum is one of those elements that have undergone rigorous tests for the past 6+ decades and have been declared safe for use. This, coupled with the fact that people ingest a lot more aluminum in their food than what is contained in vaccines, make the health concerns questionable.
How Much Aluminum Is Used In Vaccines?
Aluminum is used in very tiny amounts when making vaccines. Actually, infants always have about 5 nanograms of naturally occurring aluminum flowing in their bloodstream at any one point in time. The quantity that is present in the vaccine is so tiny that it doesn’t cause any noticeable changes in the base amount flowing in the blood, even immediately after the vaccine has been administered.
Are There Any Effects Of Prolonged Exposure To Aluminum?
Some studies have shown that some diseases can come about when too much aluminum accumulates in the body. For example, Alzheimer’s disease has been associated with accumulation of aluminum in the brain tissue. Kidney dialysis patients, as well as those who take lots of intravenous fluids and antacids, have been associated with brain damage are a result of aluminum accumulation in the tissues. The bone disease has also been associated with too much aluminum in the body leading to lower phosphate absorption.
These studies, however, have not consistently found high aluminum amounts in everyone with brain damage issues. This has given rise to a school of thought that aluminum accumulation is more a result of damaged tissue rather than the actual cause of the disease.
The debate on whether aluminum vaccines are safe is nowhere near conclusion. However, it is important to note that these vaccines are safe. It is far more dangerous to make your child skip vaccinations in fear of the “unsafe” vaccines. If your child fails to get the right vaccinations at the set times, s/he becomes vulnerable to diseases their immune system cannot fight. These diseases may render them permanently disabled or even cause fatalities!