Boron Aluminum Hypothesis

This is purely speculative.

Earlier we looked at more ‘known’ activity from Boron:

Having been taking a fairly high dose rate of Boron lately (to drive off some discomfort in a wrist that was making typing painful) I’ve also noticed an effect that is alluded to exist, but that I’d not noticed before, much. That is, I’m more mentally alert and active. Partly this has shown up as sleeping less. Sometimes only 4 hours, often 7 or under. Partly it’s just being less ‘dull’ less often. This got me thinking about “how”?

There is a very controversial assertion that Aluminum is involved in mental deficit. While the best evidence I’ve found is that it isn’t causal of any illness, in particular Alzheimer’s, and rather that the Aluminum accumulation in plaques is more symptom than cause, none the less, it accumulates. As there is no known metabolic use for Aluminum, the question of “why is it circulating at all?” is interesting, but not explored much.

Is a 19.5 MB document looking at Aluminum metabolism. While I’ve not read it all yet, the intro / abstract gives an idea of the field:

Literature regarding the biochemistry of aluminum and eight similar ions is reviewed. Close and hitherto unknown similarities were found. A hypothetical model is presented for the metabolism, based on documented direct observations of Al3+ and analogies from other ions. Main characteristics are low intestinal absorption, rapid urinary excretion, and slow tissue uptake, mostly in skeleton and reticuloendothelial cells. Intracellular Al3+ is probably first confined in the lysosomes but then slowly accumulates in the cell nucleus and chromatin. Large, long-lived cells, e.g., neurons, may be the most liable to this accumulation. In heterochromatin, Al3+ levels can be found comparable to those used in leather tannage. It is proposed that an accumulation may take place at a subcellular level without any significant increase in the corresponding tissue concentration. The possible effects of this accumulation are discussed. As Al3+ is neurotoxic, the brain metabolism is most interesting. The normal and the lethally toxic brain levels of Al3+ are well documented and differ only by a factor of 3-10. The normal brain uptake of Al3+ is estimated from data on intestinal uptake of Al3+ and brain uptake of radionuclides of similar ions administered intravenously. The uptake is very slow, 1 mg in 36 years, and is consistent with an assumption that Al3+ taken up by the brain cannot be eliminated and is therefore accumulated. The possibility that Al3+ may cause or contribute to some specific diseases, most of them related to aging, is discussed with the proposed metabolic picture in mind.

So we don’t absorb much, we excrete a lot, a little tiny bit of it gets ‘stuck’ in some subcellular structures. Sometimes in fairly high concentrations; and there’s the thought this might have something to do with aging.

Where they focus, is on atoms of similar size and charge. For example:

Among other “inert gas” ions, the titanium ion Ti4+ and the zirconium ion Zr4+ also resemble Al3″, as does the rarer hafnium ion. The current literature on the biochemistry and metabolism of Ti4+ is more limited than the corresponding literature concerning Zr4+. Therefore, the latter ion will primarily be discussed. Zr4+ has roughly the same high charge/radius ratio as Al3″ and Be , but Zr4+ is somewhat more acidic than Al3″, while Be2″ is somewhat more alkaline. In other respects as well (e.g., charge, radius, and coordination numbers) Al”3 is intermediately positioned between Be2+ and Zr4+.

I did a text search on that document and only found 2 references to “Boron”. One says that it’s not very important, the other briefly (very briefly) mentions how it has different electronegativity. The longest most complete reference says:

Boron is the first element in the same group of the periodic table as Al. However, boron only formally resembles Al and in its chemical properties is much more like the second element in the following group, silicon. In the same way, beryllium, the first element of the preceding group, is in many ways similar to Al. It is of special interest to observe that Be24 has the same high charge/ radius ratio as Al` (see Table 1), and the same electron negativity and solubility of the hydroxide. However, the lower charge and the normally lower coordination number of Be2+ are differences that should be reflected in the metabolism.

As much devoted to Be as to B, and mostly just dismissive. It does mention that B is in the same group as Al, then dismisses it. But does biology? There are many cases where things “in the same group” can substitute into biological reactions. It doesn’t work the same was as inorganic solvent based chemistry. Ion to ion isn’t as important as what the protein wrapper does and how it accepts or rejects ions. If we look at the Periodic Table, there are many ‘metabolic pairs’ in vertical groups:

Periodic Table of the Elements

Periodic Table of the Elements

Original Image

The German view of things has an emphasis on ‘perfection’, but nature is not so perfect.
(I say this having had several German family and teachers in my life. I have strong memories of a German accented “perfect!” being frequently used…)

So lets look at this chart with a bit of ‘imperfection’ in mind, for metabolic systems. First up, in Group 1, Na / K on the left side. The ratio of those two is important for many cellular functions. Up a bit to Li and we get a bit of medicinal lift to the spirits. (Nature and biology seems to like the lighter ions ;-) As we go toward the bottom of the groups, things become very toxic.

In Group 2, we have Mg / Ca as a set. The Magnesium and Calcium metabolism is critical to life. Here, too, the right ratio matters. In cancer, we get a flood of Ca ions into the blood. An interesting ‘twist’ happens here, as we go down the chart. The first stop, Strontium, isn’t exactly evil…

The human body absorbs strontium as if it were calcium. Due to the chemical similarity of the elements, the stable forms of strontium might not pose a significant health threat — in fact, the levels found naturally may actually be beneficial (see below) – but the radioactive 90Sr can lead to various bone disorders and diseases, including bone cancer. The strontium unit is used in measuring radioactivity from absorbed 90Sr.

A recent in-vitro study conducted the NY College of Dental Sciences using strontium on osteoblasts showed marked improvement on bone-building osteoblasts.

The drug strontium ranelate, made by combining strontium with ranelic acid, was found to aid bone growth, increase bone density, and lessen vertebral, peripheral, and hip fractures. Women receiving the drug showed a 12.7% increase in bone density. Women receiving a placebo had a 1.6% decrease. Half the increase in bone density (measured by X-ray densitometry) is attributed to the higher atomic weight of Sr compared with calcium, whereas the other half a true increase in bone mass. Strontium ranelate is registered as a prescription drug in Europe and many countries worldwide. It must be prescribed by a doctor, must be delivered by a pharmacist, and requires strict medical supervision.

There is a long history of medical research regarding strontium’s benefits, beginning in the 1950s. Studies indicate a lack of undesirable side-effects.
Several other salts of strontium such as strontium citrate and strontium carbonate are available in the United States under the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act of 1994, providing close to the recommended strontium content, about 680 milligrams per day, of strontium ranelate. Their long-term safety and efficacy have not been evaluated on humans in large-scale medical trials

So stay away from the radioactive forms, and it makes bones just like calcium, only stronger…

Unless you want to postulate that we have a hidden Strontium Metabolism Enzyme Series, the implication is that nature grabs “close enough” and tries to use it, running Strontium through the same metabolic pathways as Calcium.

The broad salmon colored block of the chart, the transition metals, has many in the top row that are ‘essential minerals’. Iron, copper, and zinc are the most obvious. There’s some evidence that others are essential too, in trace amounts. Could part of this be just that the “perfection” of Only One Mineral is wrong? That really we evolved to have an ‘average reaction’ based on the average mix of ions from sea water being picked up and moved around by similar enzymes?

As we drop down to the next levels, we get several medicinal effects. Gold used to treat arthritis, for example; BUT, we also get some very large toxicities. Those metals ARE being absorbed and “used”, but generally gumming up the works. Life really does prefer the lighter elements. Cd, Cadmium, is horridly toxic, but in a particularly enlightening way. It is absorbed and used in the same enzyme systems as zinc, but makes them behave very badly. Clearly the body is happy to try using Cd as though it were zinc, but it doesn’t work out well. I’m reminded of that NASA study that found a bacteria that did barely OK on lots of Arsenic and not so much Phosphorus, another vertical set. Normally, for us, Arsenic is toxic as it’s too heavy and the enzymes get screwed up. But Arsenic is over in Group 7 with: Nitrogen, above P, widely used in life too.

In Group 6, we have Carbon, the basis of life itself. Lesser known is that Si, just below Carbon looks to be a needed ‘trace element’, so also used (in small amounts and in poorly understood ways). Going further down that list, we reach Lead. Pb, Lead, is a known poison. In between those two ranges, Sn Tin is metabolized generally without issue in small amounts, but large exposures can cause sickness. Details here:

In Group 8, we have Oxygen as critical in large amounts. Sulphur is widely used in proteins and metabolism, but a bit less central than Oxygen. Selenium is a needed ‘trace element’. Then, further down, things again head into the land of Toxic.

In Group 9, the Halogens, we again have the pattern. Though just like with the other end, the alkali metals, the ‘useful’ part is shifted lower in the chart. In the middle salmon area, only the top element is really useful. As we move to both ends, the top element becomes less used and the useful bits drop lower in the series. In the Halogens, F Florine helps make teeth tougher, but isn’t really needed and in large doses is toxic (rather like Lithium, it can be a medicinal, but ‘has risks’). At Cl Chlorine, we need it for many things, but not the least of them is keeping the blood osmotic pressures right.

Chloride is one of the most important electrolytes in the blood. It helps keep the amount of fluid inside and outside of your cells in balance. It also helps maintain proper blood volume, blood pressure, and pH of your body fluids.

Just below it is Iodine, essential for thyroxin and proper thyroid function.

Even as we reach Bromine (this being an end of the chart so toxicity shifted down with utility) it isn’t bad. This folks claiming it interacts with the thyroid system. (Something I would expect from the general ‘similar ions substitute in the enzyme system’ thesis).

I have not found a cell receptor for Bromine (Br) to date, and at this time, bromine has not been classified as being essential to human health, however reduced growth, fertility, and life expectancy has been reported in some animals as a result of Hyperthyroidism secondary to dietary deficiency of bromide.

In humans and animals, Bromine – either as Sodium Bromide, or Potassium Bromide – has anti-seizure properties, and it is an effective trace mineral in the treatment of hyperthyroid conditions. Many marine plants, particularly kelp, are a rich source of bromine and iodine, so depending on their bromine to iodine ratio, and whether someone is hypothyroid or hyperthyroid, this can have a beneficial or unfavorable effect on thyroid functions when regularly consumed.

When reports of hypothyroidism cases surfaced as a result of certain cultures regularly consuming seaweed (such as Kelp), some researchers believed the high iodine content in those marine plants to be the reason. However, it was most likely the bromine content, or a high bromine / iodine ratio in the plants compared to those of other regions, or that these same people possibly also consumed higher amounts of “goitrogenic” vegetables such as lima beans, cassava, cabbage, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, which can result in depressed iodine / thyroid functions. On average, most varieties of kelp tend to increase thyroid functions.

Those folks are ‘pushing pills’ so probably needs to be taken ‘with a pinch of salt’… but still, we again have the RATIO of a vertical set of ions as having an effect.

Group 5

Which brings us to Group 5.

Right next to the ‘transition metals’, so likely ‘only the top one’ matters. But also right next to Carbon / Silicon (Where Si is likely important, but only barely). Very light weight, like C / Si so maybe a bit more like them than the transition metals, maybe.

We know that Boron matters. Exactly how much is being worked out. It is helpful in bones, immunity modulation, and there is evidence (both in the literature and in my personal experience) that it “clarifies the mind” and “stimulates” a little bit. (Not like “speed” or even like a double espresso, but more like a nice nap then a brisk walk.)

The implication here is that Boron Matters and the body has systems to use it. Looking around the rest of the period chart, we see that just below ‘what matters’ is often something that ‘comes along for the ride’ and sometimes is toxic. IMHO, Aluminum is in the same camp; but mostly not very toxic. (Only in large doses, often inhaled fumes, does it seem to do much.)

Aluminum is ubiquitous in drinking water and in just about every rock formation on the planet to some degree. We have clearly evolved to deal with having some of it floating around. Lessened absorption, greater excretion.

But when deprived of one nutrient, the metabolism tries to substitute what it can. Strontium in bones. Bromine in the thyroid. Cadmium in Zinc enzymes. Is Aluminum really going to be the exception to the rule?

So my thesis is a simple one:

In strong Boron Deficit, the body may substitute Aluminum in some of those metabolic pathways. This is “not good”, and we get Aluminum accumulation in the places where things clog up. Adding sufficient Boron lets those pathways be properly serviced and Aluminum will not be substituted (or will be substituted at much lower levels). Then things will work better.

Post Hypo Thesis

I have no proof. I have no investigation. I have nothing. Just a “Dig Here!” idea.

If anyone can make use of it, a footnote in the paper would be appreciated…

But it does “fit the known facts”.

IMHO, any investigation of Boron or Aluminum metabolism ought to include measuring and assay of the other element. Often in living systems it is the ratio of two ions in the vertical group that matters. Could full Boron supplementation displace misplaced Aluminum from intracellular accumulations? From Alzheimer’s Disease plaques? Would it matter if it did? All interesting things someone looking for a thesis might pursue.

For me, I know that I’m healthier, stronger, more energetic, and even think a little more ‘brightly’ with a daily dose of a bit of Boron. Could it be like a ‘daily dose of a little tobacco’ that has similar effects on folks? (Other than the healthier part ;-) Certainly. “The poison is in the dose”, though. And the LD-50 of Borax is a couple of orders of magnitude above my ‘dose’. Though the dose I’m taking is more than the 3 mg of Boron recommended. Closer to 1/10 th gram of borax every couple of days than to a mg range.

So that’s my Boron-Aluminum Hypothesis. Aluminum is in that ‘not quite a toxin’ range just below an ion that is used by the metabolism (though in ways we’ve not sorted out yet). It gets ‘substituted’ in small degree when Boron is too low, but doesn’t work right.

Putting Boron levels up, makes things work ‘more right’ again.

If I had a nice research grant and a lab, I’d investigate it further (and torture a few dozen rats ;-) but that will have to be left to others…
(Much to the relief of rodents in California ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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31 Responses to Boron Aluminum Hypothesis

  1. adolfogiurfa says:

    As for the potential: Aluminum displaces Boron (precipitates Boron):
    Balanced half-reaction Eo / V  
    Li+ + e- Li(s) -3.045
    K+ + e- K(s) -2.925
    Cs+ + e- Cs(s) -2.910
    Ba2+ + 2e- Ba(s) -2.906
    Ca2+ + 2e- Ca(s) -2.866
    Na+ + e- Na(s) -2.714
    Ce3+ + 3e- Ce(s) -2.480
    Mg2+ + 2e- Mg(s) -2.363
    Th4+ + 4e- Th(s) -1.900
    Be2+ + 2e- Be(s) -1.850
    U3+ + 3e- U(s) -1.798
    Al3+ + 3e- Al(s) -1.662
    Ti2+ + 2e- Ti(s) -1.630
    Zr4+ + 4e- Zr(s) -1.539
    V2+ + 2e- V(s) -1.180
    Mn2+ + 2e- Mn(s) -1.180
    H3BO3 + 3H+ + 3e- B(s) + 3H2O -0.869

  2. Jerry says:

    I am going to venture forth out on a limb into territory where I have no business trespassing but sometimes folks just feel the need to interfere with those they consider their friends – and internet friends count.
    Since you do not at present have any rats to torture and seem willing to ingest all sorts of assorted stuff I would feel much better if you would invest in a powder scale so that you could get a really accurate measure on the weight. The link is a sample of many – accurate to +/- 0.1 grain – 7000 grains in a pound, so a pretty fine comb. I have no advise on specific brands as my powder scale is an old balance beam type 50 years old.

    OK, now if I have to go out back and talk to the neighbor kid I will do so for awhile – just hope he does not look like Rage-Boy.

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    Golly… I have a powder scale… Never used it much ( I like the ‘dippers’ just fine) so it’s nice and clean… Maybe I’ll dig into that corner of the garage ;-)

    FWIW, I actually ‘did the math’ and figured out the cubic mm of the proper dose, the estimating only came in on the estimate of the volume stuck to the pinky tip, and the compressed % (as it varies a bit from ‘loose in jar’). It’s inside the error bands of worry…

    As for ‘willing to ingest all sorts of stuff’: I only do it after looking up correct quantities, finding a MSDS if possible, consulting the PDR for known drugs, doing a web search, and being very certain what will happen; or if is seems like a really neat thing to try ;-)


    The presence of enzyme systems means that’s not nearly as important. All sorts of things have their energetics shifted with enzymes… So if a protein folds in such a way that it is energetically favored to bind Boron (shape, charge, charge distribution) it will be sub-optimal for Aluminum. The Boron will displace the Aluminum. Basically, the energetics of the protein / enzyme matters more than that of the metal ion.

  4. Streetcred says:

    Just did a quick Google of boron as a supplement; plenty information available. Seems that you’re on the right track Mr Chiefio, found this:

    “Boron is a mineral that is found in food and the environment. People take boron supplements as medicine.

    Boron is used for building strong bones, treating osteoarthritis, as an aid for building muscles and increasing testosterone levels, and for improving thinking skills and muscle coordination.

    Women sometimes use capsules containing boric acid, the most common form of boron, inside the vagina to treat yeast infections.

    People also apply boric acid to the skin as an astringent or to prevent infection; or use it as an eye wash.

    Boron was used as a food preservative between 1870 and 1920, and during World Wars I and II.

    How does it work?
    Boron seems to affect the way the body handles other minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. It also seems to increase estrogen levels in older (post-menopausal) women and healthy men. Estrogen is thought to be helpful in maintaining healthy bones and mental function. Boric acid, a common form of boron, can kill yeast that cause vaginal infections.”


  5. jim2 says:

    EM – I sent the ant-mimic spider pix via the pub4all @ aol (DOT) com email address.

  6. Adam Gallon says:

    Aluminium toxicity is well-known amongst renal dialysis patients, where it has been shown to cause, bone disease, microcyic anaemia & neurological disorders.
    An uncontrolled, accidental experiment occured at Camelford, in Cornwall, after athe contamination of drinking water in July 1988.

  7. Sparks says:

    That’s Interesting and it makes sense, I’ll try to explain, some years back I found out my cousin had Psoriasis (a really irritable skin condition), after a conversation with him about the condition, I found out that it can sometimes flare up and other times completely clear up, after digging further I found he will sometimes have a really bad episode a day or two after a night out, this made him believe that it was something in the beer that was triggering it until I pointed out that it could be the Aluminum the beer is stored in. to cut a long story short, Now he avoids Aluminum, containers, jewelry etc… his skin has now cleared up nicely, he rarely needs to apply creams or use a UV lamp anymore. Is this the same in principle where levels of Boron in his system was having a reaction when he came into contact with high levels of Aluminum? and it wasn’t just the contact with Aluminum alone.

  8. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Sparks: Tell your friend to read “Edgard Cayce the sleeping prophet”, there it is said that Psoriasis it is an illness caused by the not proper elimination of some substances through the “lacteal duct”, of the lymphatic system. I made a photocopy of that page and gave it to a friend who suffered of this illness and he had the luck of having an open minded doctor who applied Cayce´s treatment and he got cured.

  9. cdquarles says:

    EM, you are mostly on solid ground. Our bodies are sacks of chemicals and the body runs on chemical principles. Our behavior is mediated by chemicals (we are not, however, strictly defined by chemicals). The first rules of both pharmacology and toxicology is: Dose and route make the medicine, dose and route make the poison. Everything and nothing is toxic per se. In chemistry, the laws of mass action apply. Enzymes simply make chemical reactions, which would still happen, happen faster or easier or more easily controlled. Electronic configurations are important in determining what will fit into an enzyme’s active sites. Chemicals that have similar electronic configurations will bind, but the differences from the optimal reactants will determine if the site is poisoned more or less reversibly (mass competition poisoning … like aspirin’s effects on oxidative phosphorylation or more permanent effects like cross-linking or irreversible chemical reactions like cyanide’s effects on oxidative phosphorylation … in other words where in the chemical chain and what happens in the chain matter greatly in terms of ‘mass’ toxicity … on a milligram basis, aspirin is much less toxic than cyanide; but both are a part of life and living things have ways of dealing with them up to a point).

  10. adolfogiurfa says:

    @cdquarles ….And “chemicals” work as charges, as ions, as electricity, …

  11. Steve C says:

    Amen to cdquarles’ note that our bodies are sacks of chemicals, and there are always little indicators that we don’t know the half of how they work. I read something years ago about the possibility that aluminium might dissolve, in small quantities, in food cooked in aluminium cooking utensils. Knowing full well that it’s a pretty reactive metal, I thought “Okay …”, and put all the aluminium saucepans to one side for a test, using only my enamel ones for a while.

    I was astonished to find that, inside a week, I felt less “edgy” and more relaxed most of the time. Tentatively put the aluminium back into use … edgy again. I threw the aluminium saucepans away after that, and haven’t been tempted to use aluminium since. I mentioned the effect to a friend, who tried the same experiment and got the same results. Only anecdotal evidence, I know, but as the primary “test subject” I’m convinced.

    I suppose, had I known about the possibility of displacing aluminium with boron, I might have tried that, but now Big Brother in Brussels has decreed that we plebs shall have no access to boron compounds it’s too late to try. Still, who needs boring old knowledge when the Great and the Good are taking such good care of us? [very much /sarc]

    Re scales, my local university, years ago, went over to electronic ones and, credit to them, contacted every school in the county to see whether they’d be interested in “re-homing” the old pan balances. Not a single school was interested, despite these being top-quality pieces of engineering and a couple of orders more accurate – for free! – than the (cheaper) electronic balances the schools were buying at the time. It made me want to weep seeing all that beautiful, precision engineering just tossed into skips behind the department – I salvaged one (good to 0.0001 gram) and it’s still a prized possession years later, having taught me the rudiments of kinematic design into the bargain.

    Even though I’ve worked and played with electronics all my life, it worries me to see how much knowledge we’re simply discarding, to replace it all with flaky “one-chip, one-LCD” stuff. Made with lead-free “solder” … but no, I mustn’t get going on that one.

  12. cdquarles says:

    Heh, about aluminum, well, there’s lots of it where I live, so I don’t worry about it. A bare metal aluminum pan will quickly be coated with alumina, which sticks to the surface. That said, in the shops near me, no one sells a bare aluminum pan. They are all coated with something but it isn’t true teflon anymore. Back in my university days, we had old style balances and the new-fangled electronic ones. No one cared about calibrating the new ones. Now that I think about it, maybe we should have. Those days also saw the trusty old slide rule replaced with electronic calculators. I bought one of the new TI-59s. It was the neatest thing I had, until I bought an Apple IIe a few years later.

  13. Richard B says:

    @Steve C — You CAN buy boron compounds in the EU on the web, if you want to, e.g. offer a supplement containing 3mg Boron and a multivitamin with 500 mcg (and all stops in between!) Usual disclaimers. RGB.

  14. Steve C says:

    Ah, yes, the trusty old slide rule. There’s been one on my workbench these forty years for those quick checks on the little grey cells, and d’you know, it’s never needed a new battery in all that time. ;-)

    I was delighted earlier this year to find that the Japanese still make slide rules, and picked up a nice little (11 cm) circular one for only about 2600 Yen. Come nuclear EMP or major solar flare, the Japanese and I will still be able to calculate, although we’d probably all have rather more urgent things to worry about in either case. If I need accuracy, I’ve still got a book of five-figure logs somewhere …

    Trade name ‘Concise’, if the nostalgia hits, or if you just feel like baffling modern kids!

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steve C:

    See here:

    Includes how to order one, and links to online slide rule emulators. There is something curiously fun about using a few million times more compute power to emulate a slide rule ;-)

    Also has a downloadable package to run it on your computer without internet connect / traffic. AND an added Android App here:

    The “fun bit” about the first one is that all it needs is pictures of the sliderule parts, that you are then allowed to move relative to each other… Elegant, in a retro-steam-powered-cell-phone kind of way ;-) ( or maybe turbo-jet powered canoe kind of way is the right direction…)

    This is the 6 inch one that went to the Moon with Apollo:

    ( I own one in box ;-)

  16. Pascvaks says:

    So many thoughts, OK I’ll only throw a few:-)
    Slide Rules – I forgot everything but C/D but I still have one, or two, somewhere, just in case.
    Elements – The old saying “We are what we eat” take’s on new meaning more and more; we can ‘eat’ while breatheing, touching, wearing, sleeping, walking, anythinging – we’re voracious little life forms.
    Boron/Boric Acid – Think I said this at last Boron piece, Dad always used boric acid in his shoes to disinstink ’em, I did/do too –lately I seem to stink less (maybe it’s my sniffalator and not the stink in my shoes, but I don’t seem to smell as bad as I used to;-) Anyway, since we are what we eat (in all respects) Dad and I must have consumed a lot of that stuff. I never realized how porus the skin was until The Patch came out some years ago and I tried to quit smoking again, didn’t work. But if a nicotine patch will do that, you really have to wonder about all the stuff we come in contact with these days; heck, CO2 should be the least of or worries for a million or two reasons. Think I also mentioned before trying to quit with The Pill (the anti-smoking pill, forget the name) anyway, believe me, that damn thing is bad poison for some, it works but I was one of the Dives-You-Crazy and to thoughts of suicide people – be very careful with that crap! Anyway, I figured when I went off those things that I’d live longer if I lit up and gave up on the idea of quitting during this lifetime.
    Imagine all the exotic chemicals we come in daily contact with and ‘ingest’, makes you yern for the good old days of breathing the the factory smoke from coal fueled boilers and such. Things were really a lot simpler back then, and maybe –as far as we know about our world– a little healthier too.

  17. Steve C says:

    @EM – Magic! – I hadn’t reached that post yet in my travels through your recent history. Mine’s a No. 300, like your Doomsday kit one, and I’m well pleased with it – I may even retire my old 5″ workbench one in favour of it at some point. (For serious Doomsdaying, I also have a “Calculators Radiac No.1”, though I hope I never have to use that in earnest, ever.)

    Not to knock the electronic stuff, of course – my faithful Casio fx-61F “Electric Formula 27” still sees regular use too, twenty-something (or is that thirty-something?) years into its life – very handy for resonance calculations, parallel resistors and other stuff a radio amateur is likely to need. I feel like a living museum sometimes, too – though not as much as a friend who went into a “historic workshop” in a museum and realised that he knew how to use every tool on display – adzes, spokeshaves …

    Now, somewhere, somewhere in my “junkpile” I have an Otis King cylindrical slide rule – that one’s in its box, too. You wouldn’t want -that- in your back pocket when you sat down … O_O

  18. Pascvaks says:

    Late thought: Aluminum is rather common as an element but hasn’t been used much until recently, post WWII, in it’s purer form, it’s effects should be something like “Solar Changes and Effects on the Environment”. There’s got’a be an “ice core” or “lake core” type ‘something’ that would show an increase/decrease somewhere in human chemistry; but where’s that deposit at? That’s the BIG question;-)

  19. adolfogiurfa says:

    In your in your kitchen´s cookware just waiting to poison you… BTW stainless steel it is not absolutely safe as it contains a high amount of Chromium which may leach out under certain conditions. The only two choices for us are: carbon steel/iron or pottery, we need a lot of iron for our hemoglobin (where it oxidizes at the lungs to Fe+3 and then reduces to Fe+2 at the cells level, giving off an electron-electricity-to our cells. Really we breath electrons in). In the case of pottery it is made of INSOLUBLE crystals:silicates of aluminum and magnesium, where these two metals are almost absolutely insoluble.)

  20. E.M.Smith says:


    Very unlikely we’ll find much change in Al levels in people. It is one of THE most common elements in rocks. Rocks weather into the water supply. Aluminum has been prevalent in our environment forever. We don’t absorb much of it, and we dump (excrete) it effectively.

    My “suspicion” is just that IF we are very boron deficient, some Al might end up being used in those enzymes. Typically in such “substitution” events, the substitute is toxic, but also raising normal levels of the alternative displaces things back toward normal. (In some cases the substitute is just rabidly toxic and not displaced as it binds too tightly. IIRC Cadmium is that way.)

    So it doesn’t really matter if we put tons of aluminum in cars. Even if some of them go into the landfill and corrode. It just ends up making more rocks…


    I like cast iron cookware. Even with the ‘seasoning’ coating, enough iron migrates into the food to give your daily needs.

    My aluminum cookware is coated with Teflon. I’m more worried about the plasticizers than the Aluminum. (Though one ought to avoid putting tomato sauce on bare aluminum… makes the sauce taste bad and eats holes in the aluminum…)

    Per Chromium: It’s an essential mineral. Not real worried about near zero amounts from stainless steel pots.

    Chromium is a mineral that humans require in trace amounts, although its mechanisms of action in the body and the amounts needed for optimal health are not well defined. It is found primarily in two forms: 1) trivalent (chromium 3+), which is biologically active and found in food, and 2) hexavalent (chromium 6+), a toxic form that results from industrial pollution. This fact sheet focuses exclusively on trivalent (3+) chromium.

    Chromium is known to enhance the action of insulin [1-3], a hormone critical to the metabolism and storage of carbohydrate, fat, and protein in the body [4]. In 1957, a compound in brewers’ yeast was found to prevent an age-related decline in the ability of rats to maintain normal levels of sugar (glucose) in their blood [3]. Chromium was identified as the active ingredient in this so-called “glucose tolerance factor” in 1959

    Chromium also appears to be directly involved in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism [1-2,6-11], but more research is needed to determine the full range of its roles in the body.

  21. Pascvaks says:

    EM –
    “Thanks! I needed that!;-)

    But.. hummmmmm..
    Tomatoes are red, bloods are red, tomatoes eat aluminieum, bloods eats aluminieum, aluminieum in dirt and compounds OK, aluminieum in pure bad?;-)

    Alcoa wants to make a profit so ‘zap’, ‘bubble’, ‘boil’, ‘pour’, ‘stamp’, ‘grind’, ‘shine’, and wah’la we got a bunch of things made out of pure aluminieum. Things that sometimes have a reaction to acids and eat the aluminieum to make other compounds that maybe aren’t good to eat or drink? That no one ever ate or drank before the Boomers were born? From the Baby Boomers to today we’ve got more and more of this ‘new’ stuff in us. Anyway, just because Alcoa (or some BIG wants to make money and Uncle Sam says OK so they can tax it and buy aircraft carriers and nucs) we have a lot of new chemistry going on that no one’s done any special ‘human impact’ tests on or maintained a record of, like thalidimide. I suspect we may not know enough about too many things, that we mistakenly take for granted things presumed ‘safe’, that it’s all safe until proven otherwise and/or adjudged as such –after 40 years of litigation– by the US Supreme Court as “Constitutional” or ‘NOT”. I suspect the system is a might flawed and that we are skating on no ice, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes with no parachuts, and voting for idiots who don’t even know what the meaning of ‘is’ is.

    I don’t know… life is so damn dangerous and I get the impression no one really cares. Boooooo.. Hoooooo..;-)

  22. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: Warning: Acids do not “eat” aluminum easily, but bases like Caustic Soda-sodium hydroxide:lye-, which dissolves it immediately with a great development of heat (there is a big production of hydrogen), it also dissolves readily in potassium hydroxide, etc.
    Foods being neutral or slightly basic dissolve aluminum as Aluminate..

    If we remove the invisible aluminum oxide from the surface of the metal it will react readily with oxygen of the air forming aluminum oxide as a white hairy composite growing from it.
    Try washing it with any detergent and a cloth or sponge-usually very alkaline- and you will see a blackish powder- …
    Aluminum should be forbidden for cooking ware.

  23. adolfogiurfa says:

    40´s and 50´s “baby boomers” are already sentenced to Alzheimer, if not already dead.

  24. E.M.Smith says:


    I think you are being a bit paranoid about Aluminum. My siblings, older than me, born in the ’40s and ’50s, are all alive and thinking clearly (me too). We used aluminum in various forms though most of our lives. (I destroyed an aluminum pressure cooker by leaving tomato sauce in it overnight once. I’ve eaten lasagna that had ‘eaten holes’ in the aluminum foil cover (how I know that aluminum makes the food taste bad ;-)

    The simple fact is that the body can deal with fairly large aluminum loads without incident.

    You also choose to ignore the point that Alzheimer Plaques accumulate metals after the fact but show no causality from the metals; and have completely ignored (not bothered to read?) the articles pointed at in prior discussions. (Including the point that ZINC is more strongly associated with plaque than is Al and Zn is a necessary nutrient). Also ignored are the records of folks working in Aluminum smelting and refining. Also ignored are the folks fed GALLONS of Aluminum Hydroxide antacids with No Bad Thing. Heck, I likely drank a gallon or two of it when I was having some stomach issues (back before they figure out antibiotic treatment for H. Pilori would fix it…) No Problem.

    You also consistently ignore the point that the mountains are largely made of Aluminum containing minerals. That erode into EVERY body of water in the world.

    The simple fact is that there is not much evidence at all for any connection between aluminum exposure levels found in day to day life WITH aluminum cookware and any bad thing at all. Folks working in aluminum smelting and exposed to massive levels of vapor have some minor issues. Folks living in areas with very acid water have slightly elevated levels of Aluminum and slightly elevated levels of Alzheimer’s but the study is not at all controlled for confounding things such as genetics (a known cause) and other environmental factors. It is incredibly weak evidence of anything.

    Then there is the widespread use of Aluminum in baking powder. It has been used in volume for so long that the majority of the world ought to be dead or have Alzheimer’s if there were any connection. There isn’t. ( It does not give as good a flavor as the Calcium based ones, IMHO, so I look for the non-Aluminum ones, but because of taste issues. Still, I’ve used the others and any commercial product is a dice roll.)

    Finally, almost all aluminum cookware in the USA is coated with Teflon like plastic. You just don’t come in contact with the Aluminum. At all. ( I’ve still used a lot of plain aluminum disposable baking pans and roasting pans. They come out with as perfect a finish as when new. No loss of Aluminum.)

    THE thing you ignore is the very long history of Aluminum in cookware, in cooking ingredients, in medical materials, and universally in drinking water. By your reasoning, we all ought to be dead, dying, or brain atrophied. Think about it…

  25. E.M.Smith says:


    THE largest problems, by far, are the “hormone analogs” and the “endocrine disruptors” and related. It is mostly the organic “crap” that is a problem. We evolved in an ocean with a modest amount of most every element in it. Our bodies can deal with that.

    We have trouble with several orders of magnitude excess of some specific elements (like Cadmium) that are rare in nature.

    We have dramatic trouble with organics that are “close but different” to natural chemicals of life.

    So I am not worried at all about the aluminum in the thousands of aluminum drink cans I’ve used over my lifetime; but I’m quite concerned about the demonstrated problems from the endocrine disruptors used as plasticizers in the plastic lining of those cans….

    So if you are “worried about crap in the environment” (and I think you ought to be), THE best thing to do is filter your drinking water through an organic absorbent material (activated carbon) and avoid plastics in contact with foods when hot. So frozen vegetables packaged in a plastic bag don’t pick up much of anything. Those in plastic lined cans that are cooked get a decent dose of things like plasticizers in them. Eat meat and eggs that are fed clean foods (the only way I’ve found is to look for “organic” or for brands that advertize their feeding plans; or raise your own.)

    Oh, and avoid the mandated fire retardants… ( I really need to finish that posting…)

    On the very bottom of the list is worry about things like Aluminum pans. Long after things like “Is my water clean?” and “Why does that bathrobe make me sneeze?” and “What crap is being soaked into or genetically manufactured inside of my food?”. (Turns out I react to one of the classes of fire retardant so as soon as bathrobes were mandated to be flame retardant, I could no longer wear one… So now we make our own…)

  26. Pascvaks says:

    Thanks again!;-)
    Happy to hear your ‘secure’ mini-gizzmo is working.

  27. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.:Aluminum cans are internally coated with a lacquer.

  28. Pascvaks says:

    @Adolfo –
    Yhep! Bet it will kill me too; amazing how many things I’m going to die of one day. I figure it would be a wasted effort to leave my body to science, I think they’ll already know all about the things that killed me;-)

  29. E.M.Smith says:


    Life is a terminal process. It’s designed that way. There are things that live forever. They are bacteria and things that “divide” to reproduce. Essentially, aging and dying are the price we pay for sex. Not sure who made that bargain, and not sure I’d change it. ;-)

    BTW, still looking for a simple, modestly secure, and reasonably fast browser solution. Getting very close…


    There are several coatings, but using extracts of the Lac Bug were replace with synthetics some time ago. Picking one of the first links to show up in a web search:

    Toxic BPA

    Bisphenol A, commonly referred to as “BPA,” is a toxic compound found within some plastics. Aluminum can manufactures line the interior of the cans with a thin coating of plastic to prevent aluminum from leeching into the food. Unfortunately, one side effect of including a plastic lining in aluminum cans is that consumers can be exposed to toxic levels of BPA. According to the Environmental Working Group, BPA exposure in lab animals caused cancer, infertility, miscarriages, polycystic ovarian disease and insulin resistance–ailments the organization hypothesizes also could occur in people.

    It’s not the aluminum that needs worry, it’s the organics…

  30. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. Life is a terminal process. It’s designed that way. There are things that live forever. They are bacteria and things that “divide” to reproduce
    Nature´s trick to overcome entropy is LIFE. In order for a wave to keep on going it must recharge its energy…

  31. Lonerfirst says:

    U may right about Al. Some Brits seem to agree. The Brits claim that a liter of mineral water with high silicon content can flush Al from your brain. They recommend Fiji water.

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