Do factories produce aluminum to the air?

WhiteTiger

New Member
Anyone know a good reason why we inhale aluminum on a daily basis?

EPA document says it is normal that there is aluminum oxide in the air.

Chapter IO-2 (page 5)

Coarse particles,
therefore, normally consist of finely divided minerals such as oxides of aluminum

http://www3.epa.gov/ttnamti1/files/ambient/inorganic/mthd-2-1.pdf


This other gov document says factories do it.

But I cannot find any information about this. Does it mean all factories produce aluminum in the atmosphere?

Does not seem reasonable.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=1076&tid=34

[... off topic material removed]
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
We inhale aluminum mostly because dirt is made partly of aluminum, so the dirt in the air (from dirt) is partly aluminum.

There is some in the air from industry, mostly mining, some from industrial areas.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp22.pdf
 
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WhiteTiger

New Member
The gov site says:

If aluminum is from soil, how can it be so high in cities where isnt soil but concrete? To my reasoning, it would be opposite that aluminum would occur more in countryside.

Also I cannot find anything about aluminum and factories.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=1076&tid=34
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
If aluminum is from soil, how can it be so high in cities where isnt soil but concrete?

Because wind blows the dust in. It's not just popping off the ground, dust is swept by winds many miles up into the air, then carried hundreds or thousands of miles.

It's only higher in urban areas where there's some additional source of aluminum, like an aluminum processing plant or foundry.

Your first question was "Do factories produce aluminum to the air". The answer to this is "some do". However most of the aluminum in the air is from soil.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Consider Lake Michigan. It's a huge body of water, there's no soil there. And yet 5 million kg of aluminum falls it every year.
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp22.pdf
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
If aluminum is from soil, how can it be so high in cities where isnt soil but concrete? To my reasoning, it would be opposite that aluminum would occur more in countryside.

Also I cannot find anything about aluminum and factories.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=1076&tid=34

Soil is only around 7 or 8 percent aluminium, on average. Bricks are made of clay, which has a high proportion of aluminium oxide (alumina) - usually at least 20% (i.e. around 11% aluminium), but up to 70% or more for fire bricks. Concrete, too, often uses GGBS (ground granulated blast furnace slag) as a filler, which contains up to 24% alumina. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_granulated_blast-furnace_slag

In other words, there is more aluminium in brick and concrete dust than there is in soil, typically. And then of course there are metal particles from car engines etc, before you even get to other industrial sources.


Aluminium is everywhere. And it is extremely inert in its common mineral forms.
 

Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member.
I'd add that feldspar, the most common class of minerals on earth, is aluminum silicate. Aluminum is highly reactive, to the point that aluminum cans would be poisonous if they didn't quickly oxidize and form a layer of aluminum oxide (corundum) a few atoms thick.

So, you almost never encounter elemental Al in the atmosphere, but rather Al compounds.

Mick covered everything else I'd say.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
People hear "aluminium" and think "metal", but as @Spectrar Ghost says, you won't find free aluminium floating around. Among the list of things many people probably don't realise are largely made of aluminium compounds:

  • bricks
  • clay
  • porcelain/china
  • sandpaper
  • rubies
  • sapphires

The latter two are almost pure alumina, in other words over 50% aluminium by weight.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
Even when it is metallic, it behaves a lot like copper - it rapidly oxidizes, but instead of flaking off and exposing new metal like iron does, it forms a layer of inert oxides that shields the metal from the environment and the environment from the metal. That familiar dull dusty look of aluminum is this patina shield, not the metal itself.
 

Chew

Senior Member.
Interesting.

Elsewhere in that document it says:

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp22.pdf#page=208

So if someone were to leave out an open container with a 4 inch diameter opening (0.0081 m²) they could expect it to accumulate 1.6 µg/day of Al just from dry deposition alone.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Interesting.

Elsewhere in that document it says:

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp22.pdf#page=208

So if someone were to leave out an open container with a 4 inch diameter opening (0.0081 m²) they could expect it to accumulate 1.6 µg/day of Al just from dry deposition alone.

Yes, so with a lot of the rain and snow tests, unless they acid washed their containers directly before the rainfall, the results are not a measure of the aluminum in rain - they are a random reflection of the fact that aluminum is everywhere.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
I just want to say, where ever this aluminum is coming into my lungs and nervous system, I dont like it,

There is many evidence that aluminum shows increase in nervous system degeneration and stress.

It is odd, that this topic is not discussed in public.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=aluminum+nervous
Odd that you said the topic is not discussed and then linked to several papers that discuss it, certainly.
 

Marin B

Active Member
According to this article (attached):
I had never heard before that it is used in purifying water. I noticed that the article didn't provide a citation, but I found a WHO document (also attached) that supports the statement.

 

Attachments

  • aluminium in drinking water.pdf
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  • nihms-237480.pdf
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Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member.
I just want to say, where ever this aluminum is coming into my lungs and nervous system, I dont like it,

There is many evidence that aluminum shows increase in nervous system degeneration and stress.

It is odd, that this topic is not discussed in public.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=aluminum+nervous

Atmospheric aluminum background levels tend to be .005-.18 ng/m^3.

The tidal capacity (volume of breaths at rest) of a typical person is about .5L. One cubic meter (10^6 cm^3) is one thousand Liters (1000 cm^3). Therefore, a person would take two thousand breaths (1 day, 9 hours 1hr 40min at 20 breaths/min) to inhale a cubic meter of air.

[edited due to dumb math error; the remainder is ok]

This works out to .072
-2.6ng (.000000072-.0000026mg) of inhaled aluminum per day. Not all this will actually be absorbed, of course. Some portion will be expelled with exhalation.

Many animal studies that found neurological effects were performed with oral exposure of between 50-250 mg/kg/day (the equivalent of 4-20 grams daily for an 80kg human). This is nine to eleven orders of magnitude greater than expected exposure by inhalation.

Except in certain environments with extremely high anthropogenic aluminum, such as some factories, aluminum inhalation can safely be ignored. Except in extraordinary situations, you will ingest far more aluminum in food or medications like asprin than you will through inhalation.
 
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