Ecotoxicology of Aluminium
1. W. Barabasz, 1. D. Albińska, 2. M. Jaśkowska, 3. J. Lipiec
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1. Dept. of Microbiology, Agricultural University, Cracow, Poland
2. Profesional Medical College, Przemysl, Poland
3. Dept. of Physics, Agricultural University, Cracow, Poland
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2002;11(3):199–203
Aluminium is an element commonly occurring in nature, the third most abundant in the earth's crust after oxygen and silicon. It forms numerous mineral and organic complexes, characterised by different degrees of hydration. Its easy transition from solid to liquid phase and high solubility in acid environment are decisive factors for its important function in the environment. Until recently, aluminium was considered harmless for the human organism as it is readily excreted through urine. However, studies of environmental toxicology conducted in recent years indicated that aluminium could be a cause of many diseases in humans, animals and plants. Acid rains and increasing acidification of the environment induced water and soil pH changes which resulted in the mobilisation of toxic aluminium ions which in turn evoked many unfavourable alterations, such as plant poisoning, forest drying, crop reduction, vanishing of water fauna, and numerous disturbances in the function of human and animal organisms. Aluminium can be found in many food products and feed for animals. In this way it enters the organism and accumulates in various tissues. Although the mechanism of toxic aluminium actions on humans has not been elucidated yet, prophylactic action should be undertaken aimed at limiting the contact of humans with aluminium. Most of all, it should be eliminated from food, food additives and medicines. We should avoid tools, kitchen utensils and appliances made of aluminium as well as aluminium wrappings and containers.