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What Is the Treatment for Aluminum Poisoning?

By Melissa Barrett
Updated Feb 08, 2024
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Treatment for aluminum poisoning is often reliant on the levels of aluminum in the body and the severity of the symptoms. In the most serious of cases, hospitalization is required and medications are given to speed the removal of aluminum from the body. In many cases, patients are advised to avoid exposure to the metal and are monitored on an outpatient basis. That can be difficult, however, given how prevalent aluminum is in the environment. Generally, without further exposure to the metal, the body will gradually rid itself of excess amounts of the metal naturally.

Individuals with symptoms of aluminum poisoning that are serious enough to require hospitalization may be treated with desferal mesylate. This medication effectively binds with metals, such as iron and aluminum, in the body. Once bound, the medication leaves the body, taking the metal with it. Desferal mesylate can have serious side effects, including acute renal failure and seizures and, therefore, is generally administered only in the most critical of aluminum poisoning cases.

In acute cases of aluminum poisoning, the source of the exposure can be obvious. Workers who mine aluminum and individuals who live near these mines are at a higher risk for toxicity. Likewise, those working in or near plants that manufacture products containing aluminum are also at higher risk. In these cases, major lifestyle changes may be needed to reduce aluminum exposure to nondangerous levels.

Aluminum consumed in food is often a major component in aluminum poisoning. Almost all foods contain some trace amounts of the metal, but certain foods, such as baking powder and baking soda, can have additional aluminum. Further, manufactured foods, such as tofu and cheese, that are prepared in aluminum vats can have high levels of the metal.

The preparation of the food is sometimes more important than the food itself. Some foods, especially highly acidic foods, can absorb aluminum from the pan in which they are prepared. As such, aluminum cookware should probably be avoided by those who are susceptible to aluminum toxicity.

People suffering from aluminum poisoning often choose to avoid certain antacids, toothpastes, and pain relievers that contain the metal. Products such as antidandruff shampoos and deodorants can also contain aluminum, which may be absorbed through the skin. Fortunately, rising awareness of the negative effects of excess aluminum consumption have caused some manufactures to lower aluminum levels in products. In some cases, alternative products with no added aluminum at all are available.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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