Alzheimer's, Aluminium & Flouride

How you could be increasing your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease every time you cook!

Alzheimer’s, the ‘silent epidemic’ that afflicts mainly elderly people, is on the increase. There are now an estimated 18 million victims worldwide, some 5% of the world’s elderly population, suffering from this progressive, degenerative disease that affects memory, emotion and thought processes. And experts forecast that by 2020, Alzheimer’s will affect 30 million people.

Although nobody knows the exact cause of Alzheimer’s, it has long been noticed that people with Alzheimer’s have excessive amounts of aluminium in their brains and it is generally accepted that aluminium plays a major role in the disease. (Can J Public Health 1992;83:97-100)

Aluminium cookware was thought to be the source of this neurotoxin. The puzzle for scientists, however, was how the aluminium got into the brain, as aluminium does not cross the blood/brain barrier.

Your drinking water can carry toxins like aluminium straight to your brain.

Adding fluoride to the drinking water supply has been popular in countries like South Africa, the US and UK. Yet, in 1994, a study revealed that aluminium and fluoride in water could be responsible for the alarming increase in Alzheimer’s Disease and presenile dementia. Other studies have shown that aluminium contained in cookware becomes unstable in the presence of fluorides and can leach out of the pot or pan. These studies showed that boiling fluoridated tap water in an aluminium pan means the water absorbs almost 200 parts per million (ppm) of aluminium and up to 600 ppm with prolonged boiling. There was almost no leaching from aluminium pans with non-fluoridated water.

The significance of this is that aluminium fluoride, a compound made from fluoride in water and the aluminium in pans, does pass the blood/brain barrier.

Laboratory tests by Dr. Julie Varner and her team have confirmed this - that the action of aluminium and fluoride in water results in pre-senile dementia and kidney damage (Neuroscience Research Communications, 1993, 13:2, 99-104, Society for Neuroscience annual Meeting; San Diego, CA, 1995, Brain Research 1998; 784: 284-298).

Age-related conditions resulted with both aluminium/fluoride laced water and water containing both sodium fluoride and aluminium fluoride.

The Varner studies caused such alarm that the US Environmental Protection Agency requested the US National Toxicological Program (NTP) to commission new studies. To date, the NTP has not undertaken any such studies.

Why non-stick is no safer than straightforward aluminium pans.

You may think you are not at risk from consuming too much aluminium - none of your cookware is aluminium, right? But how many of your pots and pans are non-stick? When non-stick surfaces were used on aluminium pans, it was believed that this would insulate the metal from the food within and stop the problem. But the non-stick materials, Teflon and Tefal, are made from the polymer poly-tetre-fluoroethylene (PTFE). And the "F" stands for ‘fluorine’.

PTFE is inert when cold. But there have been stories about caged birds dying in kitchens after fires involving non-stick cookware, suggesting the PTFE emits toxic gases when burned; electronic engineers are warned, when soldering, not to breathe fumes from PTFE insulation. The 19 July 2001 issue of Nature highlighted the dangers posed by Teflon (Nature 2001; 412:312-324).

This paper is more serious because the researchers did not burn the Teflon but simply heated it. When the researchers heated this polymer, it released a veritable cocktail of chemical fragments - some of which were already known to be greenhouse gases that damage the ozone layer.

Many of the substances released also contained fluorine. One chemical fragment found was trifluoride acetic acid. This substance has often been detected in rainwater, but its origin has been unclear. Trifluoride acetic acid is very slow to break down, and very little research has been done on its long-term effects on the environment. Thus, Teflon, which is perceived by most as benign, could be a significant source of fluoride pollution at normal cooking temperatures.

Protect yourself today - get rid of all aluminium or Teflon-coated pans now

Teflon is very hard-wearing, but it does wear, which is why special soft tools are made for use with it. You can scratch it to reveal the underlying metal - usually aluminium. Even where it does create an effective barrier between the cookware and the water, it may be in contact with alum, an aluminium agent used to treat tap water. This again may be a significant source of aluminium fluoride. (Neurology 1966; 46:401-5)

The bottom line is that there are strong grounds to suspect that, where a source of fluorine can combine with aluminium, this may cause a significant increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It may not be merely coincidence that the world’s most fluoridated country, Ireland, has a massive 30,000 cases of Alzheimer’s out of a total population of only three million. And while Teflon was believed to reduce the danger, its fluoride content may actually increase it. Under the circumstances, at least until more is proved about this terrible disease and its causes, you may wish to consider throwing out that aluminium cookware - non-stick or not - in favour of something less risky. (New Health Revelations, Volume 1, Number 4. March 2002;P5-7)