Human Exposure to Aluminium

We are carrying out research to understand how humans might be exposed to aluminium and how such exposures might be estimated and any effects revealed.

  • Aluminium in Tobacco and Cannabis
  • Aluminium and Multiple Sclerosis
  • Aluminium and Alzheimer's Disease
  • Aluminium and Camelford
  • Aluminium and Heroin Abuse
  • Aluminium and Breast Cancer
  • Aluminium in Suncare Products

biochemical tree of life for natural selection of al and si

A biochemical tree of life for the natural selection of aluminium. Concomitant with the emergence of higher forms of life are significant concentrations of environmental silicic acid and commensurate insignificant concentrations of biologically reactive aluminium. Silicic acid limits the biological availability of aluminium, and it is unable to compete with Mg(II), Ca(II), Fe(II/III) for binding by phosphate, carboxylate and hydroxyl functional groups. Aluminium is excluded from inorganic biochemistry. Subsequently over tens of millions of years and, recently concomitant with the activities of modern human beings, an increase in the concentration of biologically reactive aluminium occurs. This increase, coincident now and in the foreseeable future with evolutionarily-driven lower levels of environmental silicic acid, displaces essential metals from biomolecules which are integral to vital biochemical processes. Aluminium is now competitive and has become an active participant in biochemical evolution. What then are the implications of such for future biochemistry? Key: Degree of shading indicates changes through evolutionary time in the environmental concentrations of biologically reactive (i) silicic acid ([Si(OH)4]B; blue) and (ii) aluminium ([Al]B; red). The extent of coloured branches and their variously-shaped leaves estimates the major metal ion competitors for Al(III) and their preferred functional groups for binding respectively. mya: million years ago. From Exley (2009).

For more information, please check out the following references:

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