Chemical of the day blog and aluminium

My concern here is due to my own use of ammonium alum in a water solution for as a deodorant for personal use.

On the blog called ''Chemical of the day'', the author provided this link: (Aluminum disruption of calcium homeostasis and signal transduction resembles change that occurs in aging and Alzheimer's disease.''
This is just 1 link;the author provided 9 links. The link to where I got these quotes from is:

My question is this: Is aluminium, despite being widely regarded as safe for use in cosmetic products such as in the chlorohydrate or ammonium alum form, actually a risk factor when considering alzheimer's disease, or is there no worry in regards to this whatsoever?


  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    We simply don't know it yet. Aluminium is a PITA to test in vitro and current in vivo data don't reflect lifelong use. My knowledge says that it is likely to be of some health concern, especially the chloride forms (because they aren't true salts but halfway covalent molecules). Alum is likely safer because it's a real dissociated salt and therefore less likely to penetrate skin and eventually accumulate over the years.
  • Thank you. Do you personally avoid aluminium/alum? I find ammonium alum to be the longest-lasting deodoriser for me. I recall reading that aluminium sulphate is more of an antiperspirant, which is strange, because ammonium alum contains a sulphate too. I do find that I still do sweat with ammonium alum so I guess it does not become absorbed as much as a standard antiperspirant does. Do you know of any long-term studies being done on alum/inium that may result in us knowing whether they are definitively a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease? Also, just to satisfy my passion for chemistry knowledge, why does a halfway covalent molecule such as aluminium chloride result in more absorption than a truly dissociated aluminium molecule?
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    I semi-avoid aluminium deodorants... can't do it completely without ;( .
    There are no long lasting studies, all we have are retrospective observations and indications (like people using aluminium deos get more often Alzheimer's people not using them). Aluminium salts usually don't work in enzymatic tests or cell cultures, they are too toxic therein and cause nobody volunteers as a guinea pig for 20 or even 50 years, there are no clinical trials either (last I checked and that was already 5 or 6 years ago, there might be newer publications by now).
    Aluminium as chloride is a Lewis acid; in water, it has 1 negative charge which is due to the nearly covalency not even a real -1, it's hence somewhat lipophilic and can penetrate trough skin. Aluminium sulfate on the other hand has two positive charges (and it's buddy, the sulfate, has two negative ones), it's a real salt with several charges and zero fat-solubility and therefore can't really penetrate skin.
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