Aluminium Industry hides Alzheimers Connection

- Peter Myers

Date: February 18, 2022; update March 6, 2022

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Copyright: Peter Myers asserts the right to be identified as the author of the material written by him on this website, being material that is not otherwise attributed to another author.

NEURA is an Australian research lobby that solicits donations from the public, for Alzheimers research. But it denies the Aluminium link, and has no interest in investigating it.

(1) Letter from NEURA denies Aluminium-Alzheimers Link
(2) PDF version of Judie Walton's Report
(4) Press and Media statements at the time
(5) Chronic Aluminum Intake Causes Alzheimer's Disease - J R Walton (2014)

(1) Letter from NEURA denies Aluminium-Alzheimers Link

Aluminium and Alzheimer's disease From:> 11 February 2022 at 10:30 To: Peter Myers

Dear Mr Myers,

Thank you for your query, which was forwarded to me for response.

Aluminium has been suspected to be associated with dementia for a number of reasons.

1. Some people who were having haemodialysis for kidney failure developed a form of dementia which was found to be related to aluminium in the dialysis fluid. Examination of the brains of sufferers revealed a microscopic appearance that was not the same as Alzheimer's disease. Attention to the aluminium level of dialysis fluid has fixed this problem.

2. Aluminium was found in the microscopic plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, raising the possibility that this was a cause of the disease. However, subsequent studies found that the aluminium was introduced into the plaques by chemicals during the fixation process for studying the brains.

3. Aluminium is sometimes added to drinking water as a flocculant - i.e. to precipitate impurities and foreign substances so that the resulting water is cleaner and purer. Many years ago a colleague at Concord Hospital, Dr Judie Walton, did some work for the Sydney Water Board to examine the level of aluminium in drinking water and my memory is that the resulting water had less aluminium in it than if the flocculant had not been used.

As far as I recall, epidemiological studies haven't shown a convincing link between aluminium in drinking water and the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other dementia, and I have not heard any recent evidence to the contrary.

So I think you can safely drink water without worrying about Alzheimer's disease!

I hope this helps. Kind regards

Name-Withheld Research Fellow. ==

Dear Dr Name-Withheld,

Thank you for your email of Feb. 11 re Aluminium and Alzheimer's disease.

I wrote to NEURA about this because I received a brochure from them urging donations - "your research work is urgent".

But I recalled the 1994 Report by Judie Walton, and obtained a copy of it, plus some press reports about it.

Her conclusions are NOT consistent with your assertion that no link has been found. On the contrary, in the case of rats, she DID find links. And she recommended URGENT investigation to see if the same results applied with humans.

Below, I supply


(2) Press and Media statements at the time.

Further, I have attached:

(1) a pdf copy of Judie Walton's Report

(2) a .doc summary of Judie Walton's Report comprising he SYNOPSIS, CONCLUSIONS and RECOMMENDATIONS.

Do you know of any follow-up studies which addressed the recommendations Judie Walton made?

I am sure you have heard of "Industry Capture". It's a term popularised by Robert F. Kennedy Jr, to describe situations where a public regulator is captured by the Industry it regulates.

Your Sincerely,

Peter Gerard Myers

(2) PDF version of Judie Walton's Report

It's at Walton-Alum-Report-1994.pdf .


Bioavailability of Aluminium from Drinking Water: Co-exposure with Foods and Beverages

Judie Walton Australian
Institute for Biomedical Research Ltd

Graham Hams Royal
North Shore Hospital, Sydney

David Wilcox
Water Board, Sydney

Urban Water Research Association of Australia
Research Report No 83
October 1994


Alum (aluminium sulphate) is used in the clarification process of raw water for drinking. A recent study using Sydney drinking water has shown that after alum treatment it contained a higher proportion of soluble to insoluble aluminium species. Soluble forms of aluminium are bioavailable and toxic. They are readily absorbed from the digestive tract into the bloodstream and taken up by bone, brain and other soft tissues.

At high blood levels, aluminium causes acute dementia (dialysis dementia) in some renal failure patients. Epidemiological studies have linked aluminium content in drinking water to the incidence of Alzheimer's disease, a dementia which usually develops over a longer time course.

The main information known about aluminium bioavailability is that citric acid from lemon juice combines with aqueous aluminium to form aluminium citrate. This is much more readily absorbed than aqueous aluminium alone. The present research studied whether other nutrients affect aluminium bioavailability from drinking water. Laboratory rats were used to establish a "relative aluminium bioavailability" database for each test diet. Changes in serum and urinary aluminium concentrations were measured as an index of aluminium absorption/bioavailability.

This research showed that diet is a prominent determinant of aluminium bioavailability from drinking water. Orange juice, coffee and wine significantly increase the amount of aluminium absorbed from water. Tea, beer, butter, and apple have no effect while beef and Vita Wheat biscuits tend to decrease aluminium absorption. For each test diet a subpopulation of rats had higher aluminium bioavailability than others and were more at risk. This finding is consistent with previous research on humans (Taylor et al., 1992; Harrington et al., 1994).

From this study and other available data, it becomes clear that aluminium is absorbed through the intestine from alum-treated drinking water. However, almost all the known facts relate to rats. Further research is urgently required to ascertain if absorption occurs to the same degree in humans. If this proves to be the case, then the small daily amount of aluminium that gains access to the body must be critically analysed to find if it produces accumulated damage to brain tissues, particularly in the elderly.


Aluminium is known to be toxic to the tissues of plants, animals and humans. When present in sufficient concentrations (which are still small) it damages brain cells and interferes with bone growth. Despite this, it has been widely added to water and to food. Alum addition to water in the clarification process increases the ratio of soluble or bioavailable aluminium to insoluble particulate aluminium species (Tran et al., 1993). Even at the trace levels of aluminium that might be found in tap water, some aluminium can pass directly into the brain. The long-term health consequences of this alum-based water treatment are currently unknown but must be regarded as potentially dangerous.

From this research the following conclusions can be reached:Ñ

Previous estimates of aluminium bioavailability from drinking water have been considerably oversimplified and probably underestimated. They did not recognise the diverse circumstances under which water is consumed and particularly the effects that other nutrients have in altering aluminium absorption.

When ingested with water some foods or beverages promote aluminium absorption from the water and others inhibit its absorption. This bears no obvious relationship to the quantity of aluminium that is present in the food or beverage by themselves. This further emphasises that it is not the total amount of aluminium in the diet that is important but rather the chemical interaction between its various constituents of which drinking water, containing bioavailable aluminium, plays a significant part.

Some rats for genetic reasons absorb two to four times more aluminium than others and up to 10 rimes more by the time it is taken into the brain. Human aluminium data appears to show the same trend. This implies that the same amount of ingested aluminium could give a higher risk of toxicity to a genetically-predisposed proportion of the population.


This project and other research around the world suggest that the use of alum in water treatment could have implications for water authorities and that further research is required.

Further research to ascertain whether there is a health related risk to customers from alum in water treatment should be supported by the water industry as a matter of urgency. Examples of such projects might be:

Identification of percentages and kinds of soluble aluminium species (Al fluoride, Al phosphate, Al hydroxide, Al silicate, and Al sulphate) in different tap water. Their relative absorption levels in experimental animals can then be assessed.

At the sub-cellular (electron microscopic) level, an evaluation of the threshold level(s) of aluminium that is required to start to produce toxic changes in brain cells. If this concentration is found to be in the order of magnitude of that which is known to exist in the ageing human brain, then it would be prudent for the water industry to be very circumspect about its use of alum.

Enlarging the relative aluminium bioavailability database so as to improve the understanding of aluminium absorption from the normal diet.

Giving, over their lifespan, purified water without aluminium to one group of rats and purified water to which tap level amounts of aluminium have been added to another group of rats, and comparing their memory performance well into old age.

(4) Press and Media statements at the time


Link found between water, Alzheimer's


SYDNEY, March 28 -- Australian researchers have discovered what they say is the strongest link so far between Alzheimer's disease and the world's most widely used water-filtering chemical, alum, they said Tuesday. A research team led by Judie Walton of the Australian Institute for Biomedical Research has shown that traces of dissolved aluminum in alum- treated drinking water may enter the brain -- from as little as a single glass of water, they said.

Alum is the common name for aluminum sulfate, which is dissolved and used to bind fine sediments for removal. Walton said that aluminum was a known nerve poison, and dissolved aluminum was the most toxic and 'bio-available' form of the metal and therefore the most potentially damaging to humans. Walton, who is the president of the International Federation of Cell Biology, said there was more evidence that aluminum is involved in Alzheimer's disease than any other single factor. She has called for a global review of the use of alum, and said the research suggested that the World Health Organization's standards for maximum aluminum concentrations in drinking water were probably 100 times too high. 'The amount of aluminium that goes into the brain appears to depend on the individual's genetic predisposition, whether aluminium is added to the water supply, and what other foods, such as orange juice, wine, coffee and prepared foods they eat,' she said. She said the research, on laboratory rats, suggested that small amounts of aluminum taken up by the human brain could accumulate over a lifetime to 'substantial levels' and contribute to brain-cell death and memory loss.

Alum and Alzheimer's

Note: Many cities add alum to drinking water in order to reduce particulate and fine contaminants. There appears to be a relationship between the occurrence of Alzheimer's disease and this alum treatment. I cannot make claims about this article but provide it for informational purposes.

Jim McMahon

Aluminum and Alzheimer's Disease

Original Airdate: Thursday, February 22, 1996

Reporter: Celina Bell

[...] In Canada we take our drinking water for granted. Just turn on the tap and out it pours. We drink litres of it a day in our tea, our coffee, and our orange juice. We consume millions of gallons of it in a lifetime. Our drinking water comes to us from the local treatment plant, where it's clarified and purified with chemicals that make it clean and safe to drink. One of those chemicals is aluminum, and some scientists are worried it could be contributing to Alzheimer's Disease.

Allegations of a link between aluminum and Alzheimer's were first made 20 years ago when researchers detected higher amounts of aluminum in the brains of people who died of the disease. They speculated that the aluminum acted as a neurotoxin, gumming up the brain's functioning and contributing to the dementia. When the news first broke people began throwing away their aluminum pots and pans, their deodorants, and worrying about the processed foods they were eating. But experts have never been able to prove a definitive link between the aluminum in these products and Alzheimer's. Now a new series of studies - this time on the aluminum in our drinking water - has stirred up the debate again.

The latest study comes out of Ontario. Researchers autopsied 800 brains, more than a third of them from people who had diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. They checked the medical backgrounds of each subject and traced their residential histories, where they've lived and for how long. Then they looked at the records from 55 Ontario municipalities on average amount of residual aluminum in the drinking water supply. What they found was a striking correlation. Communities with high levels of aluminum in the drinking water had higher levels of Alzheimer's Disease.

The aluminum in our water is a chemical called alum. Alum is a cheap and effective way of removing toxic material from our water supply. When it's added to water it attracts and binds itself to organic material, settling it to the bottom of the tank so it can be removed during filtration. But some of it does make it into our tap water - how much varies considerably from place to place. In Toronto, for example, the drinking water comes from Lake Ontario, a fairly large and stable body of water. The amount of alum needed is low, and the levels after treatment are below 100 micrograms per litre. But in the Prairies the source water carries a lot of organic material from the soil and the rivers, and a lot more alum is needed to settle it. In some communities the level of alum in the drinking water is seven times higher than in Toronto.

More important than the amount of alum added at treatment is how much of it comes out of your tap. That's based on how the alum is balanced with other chemicals in the water. It's an intricate process, and in some communities the resources to monitor it properly just aren't available. Roughly 20 per cent of Ontario drinks water in excess of 100 micrograms per litre.

Halfway around the world in Sydney, Australia, another critical study has focused attention on this issue. The city needed a new water plant to service their growing population. The Sydney Water Board, prompted in part by the Ontario study, decided to take a closer look at the aluminum-in-Alzheimer's issue before building its new water-treatment plant. The board hired independent scientist Judie Walton to study whether the alum in drinking water could be absorbed by the body. In Walton's study rats were given the equivalent of one glass of Sydney tap water treated with alum. Two weeks later their brains were examine for the presence of aluminum, and they found it. This is the first study which has shown a direct pathway from the water, across the gastrointestinal tract, into the bloodstream, and then into the brain.

The theory has always been that if you're healthy, the aluminum that you ingest is eliminated by your kidneys. But Walton's study showed otherwise. Based on this and other recent studies, the Sydney Water Board decided to eliminate the use of aluminum in their new water plant, the second-largest in the world. In their announcement they stated: "None of the research is conclusive, but it provides the water board with a basis upon which to make decisions based on prudent avoidance".

In Canada health officials are looking at this new information. They're actually considering new guidelines that would limit the amount of aluminum in our drinking water. If Canada does go ahead and set guidelines, it will be the first country in the world to do so. But not everyone is taking this issue so seriously. There are a lot of scientists out there who think Alzheimer's has little to do with aluminum and much more to do with genetics.

If anybody has played a important role in opposing the aluminum-Alzheimer's link, it's Dr. Henryk Wisniewsky. For the past 20 years Wisniewsky has been one of the most prominent scientists in the field of Alzheimer's research, and he's a vocal critic of the link theory. He's published over 600 academic articles and he's a key organizer of major international conferences on the disease. It's at conferences like these that he challenges the link between aluminum and Alzheimer's, based on the fact that, so far, all the evidence pointing to a link has been inconclusive.

For Wisniewsky and other scientists, the key to Alzheimer's Disease is genetics. They're focusing on something called amyloid. It's a protein that builds up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. The theory is that too much amyloid causes the degeneration of the brain that marks Alzheimer's victims.

So who's right? Now, when you look at other diseases like heart disease, genetics is seen as an important factor, but not the only one. Things like stress, diet and exercise are also taken into consideration - and the same could apply to Alzheimer's. But genetics is not the only factor, but it could be one of many that contribute to the disease.

But that's exactly where most of the research effort and funding is going, into genetics. Last year the two major governmental agencies in North America that sponsor medical research contributed hundreds of millions of dollars towards the study of Alzheimer's. The National Institute on Aging in the U.S. put $216 million into it, and the Medical Research Council of Canada gave out $850,000 worth of grants for Alzheimer's studies. None of that went to researching the aluminum- Alzheimer's link.

There's no doubt exciting advances are being made in genetics, and because it can yield such clear results, it attracts most of the funding and the attention. But it's very difficult to get those kinds of results when looking at other risk factors. The great debate on the role smoking plays in lung cancer is a case in point. The evidence is still not considered conclusive.

Another player in this debate is the American Aluminum Association, an industry lobby group based in Washington D.C. Twenty years ago it was caught off guard by early research into aluminum and Alzheimer's. The association has been vigilant ever since, challenging the link theory at every opportunity, with the argument that the evidence is inconclusive. There's a lot at stake for the industry, primarily their product image. To protect it, the association has been doing a lot of public relations work, and it set up its own health research program to respond to any allegations of a link. The program funds scientists to do research and regular literature reviews on everything written about the link; as well it funds scientists to organize and attend major international conferences on Alzheimer's where the link is being discussed. And it sponsors its own international conference on aluminum and health.

Among those who receive regular funding from the association is Dr. Wisniewsky. He's been monitoring the debate and conducting literature reviews on aluminum and Alzheimer's for the association for almost 20 years. In 1988 it helped him set up the Center for Trace-Element Studies, of which he's the director. ...

(5) Chronic Aluminum Intake Causes Alzheimer's Disease - J R Walton (2014)

Review J Alzheimers Dis . 2014;40(4):765-838. doi: 10.3233/JAD-132204.

Chronic aluminum intake causes Alzheimer's disease: applying Sir Austin Bradford Hill's causality criteria

J R Walton 1

PMID: 24577474 DOI: 10.3233/JAD-132204


Industrialized societies produce many convenience foods with aluminum additives that enhance various food properties and use alum (aluminum sulfate or aluminum potassium sulfate) in water treatment to enable delivery of large volumes of drinking water to millions of urban consumers. The present causality analysis evaluates the extent to which the routine, life-long intake, and metabolism of aluminum compounds can account for Alzheimer's disease (AD), using Austin Bradford Hill's nine epidemiological and experimental causality criteria, including strength of the relationship, consistency, specificity, temporality, dose-dependent response, biological rationale, coherence with existing knowledge, experimental evidence, and analogy. Mechanisms that underlie the risk of low concentrations of aluminum relate to (1) aluminum's absorption rates, allowing the impression that aluminum is safe to ingest and as an additive in food and drinking water treatment, (2) aluminum's slow progressive uptake into the brain over a long prodromal phase, and (3) aluminum's similarity to iron, in terms of ionic size, allows aluminum to use iron-evolved mechanisms to enter the highly-active, iron-dependent cells responsible for memory processing. Aluminum particularly accumulates in these iron-dependent cells to toxic levels, dysregulating iron homeostasis and causing microtubule depletion, eventually producing changes that result in disconnection of neuronal afferents and efferents, loss of function and regional atrophy consistent with MRI findings in AD brains. AD is a human form of chronic aluminum neurotoxicity. The causality analysis demonstrates that chronic aluminum intake causes AD.

Authors: Walton, J.R.; *

Affiliations: Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, St George Hospital, Sydney, Australia

Correspondence: [*] Correspondence to: Dr. J.R. Walton, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, St George Hospital, Sydney, Australia. E-mail:

DOI: 10.3233/JAD-132204

Journal: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 765-838, 2014

Accepted 20 December 2013 | Published: 19 May 2014


Suggestion: When you go to the supermarket, you read labels on foods showing the ingredients. Water supply authorities should similarly have to supply you a list of the ingredients in your water - including Aluminium, Chlorine, and Fluoride. This list should be supplied when they send the bill. If the bill is sent by youyr local Council, then they should supply the list ofingredients.

Copyright: Peter Myers asserts the right to be identified as the author of the material written by him on this website, being material that is not otherwise attributed to another author.


Write to me at contact.html.