Ellis Barker J
By THE EDITOR.
THE July issue of this Journal contained two signed letters to the Editor, in which correspondents complained about Aluminium poisoning. Shortly after their publication I received a letter from the Secretary of the British Aluminium Holloware Manufacturers Association, lecturing me as follows: We are sorry to see misstatements of facts in the pages of your otherwise useful magazine. (I like the patronizing adjectives ” otherwise useful”.)
On pages 401 and 402 of your July number you refer to Aluminium poisoning, and allegations of the same have been abundantly disproved.” In immediate reply I wrote “I would gladly study your point of view. Perhaps you would kindly send me all the information in your possession so that I can study the material. I do not want merely a few scrappy leaflets or pamphlets for popular consumption, but the scientific facts, and if I should be convinced that Aluminium is not harmful, I shall, of course, do justice to Aluminium in print.”.
The Secretary sent me a pamphlet entitled: “What the Scientist says Aluminium Cooking Utensils are Wholesome An investigation by a Technical Expert.” The technical expert who, with becoming modesty, does not give his name is certainly an expert journalist. He puts his points neatly and will no doubt convince the unthinking of the advantages of Aluminium. After having described the advantages of using Aluminium, the so-called expert writes on page 7:.
“It is true that some research workers and medical authorities have condemned the use of Aluminium vessels for cooking, but later researches have proved that their conclusions have been based on insufficient data, and by applying the observed ill- effects of excessive dosage often by injection to the minute content of Aluminium as derived from contact with the metal during cooking.
To take a simple analogy, although milk is a pure diet, the injection of comparatively small quantities of milk into the blood stream would be attended with fatal results, and it would be foolish to argue from such a ridiculous procedure that milk is a danger to the human race.”.
The anonymous “expert” would be very convincing of objections to Aluminium were based on such idiotic experiments. The two correspondents who complained about the ill-effects of Aluminium in the pages of this magazine, Adrienne Sarti and Mary Bellchambers, complained of Aluminium because of the very serious effects on health observed consequent upon the use of Aluminium cooking vessels.
Hundreds of case of Aluminium poisoning are known to doctors, and the objection to Aluminium is not based on experiments on unfortunate animals which must arouse the indignation and contempt of everyone possessed of commonsense, but they are based on undoubted facts.
I give an illustration : A retired major, Mr. D., a man of magnificent physique, was going to pieces completely. He had never been ill in his life. He looked poisoned. His symptoms suggested Arsenic poisoning. As the symptoms of Aluminium poisoning and Arsenic poisoning are very similar and as there was no reason to think that he had been poisoned with Arsenic, he was asked: “Is Aluminium used in your kitchen ?” We use nothing but Aluminium.”
He was given Alumina 200, s single dose to be taken every Wednesday, without being told the name or object of his medicine. Alumina in a high potency counteracts Aluminium poisoning. The use of Aluminium vessels was forbidden. In a month the man was completely restored and he has remained well ever since. Yet he was a wreck when taken in hand, had been declining for many months and his disease was mystery.
The “expert” author of the anonymous pamphlet not only unfairly accuses the opponents that their objection to the use of Aluminium is based on idiotic experiments but he wishes to prove the harmlessness of the metal. He writes: “The experiments of McCollum and his colleagues, and those of Myers and Mull, show conclusively that the addition of Aluminium salts to the diet of young rats has no ill-effects on growth, health and reproduction, even when four successive generations were observed.
The experiment of Myers and Morrison and of Underhill and Peterman, show that when Aluminium compounds are given by the mouth to dogs, only insignificant changes in the amounts of Aluminium in different tissues are found.”.
With due respect to the eminence and scientific qualifications of the anonymous “technical expert” I would observe that the problem does not consist in discovering the effect of the absorption of Aluminium salts in young rats or old rats and in dogs, but in ascertaining the effect of absorbing two or three times a day small quantities of Aluminium derived from cooking utensils by human beings.
That seems a matter of minor importance to the so-called expert and the pamphlet concludes with the words: “The impressive weight of unbiased and painstaking medical and bio-chemical research, which is in favour of Aluminium for culinary purposes, should effectively lay the bogey of danger that has been raised, and convince the public that THE RISK OF POISONING FROM GOOD COOKED IN ALUMINIUM VESSELS IS NON-EXISTENT.”.
The other document sent to me by the British Aluminium Holloware Manufacturers Association is a pamphlet entitled “Aluminium and Food,” by J.H. Burn, M.A., M.D., Director of the Pharmacological Laboratories, Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. This pamphlet is a more serious compilation of the facts for and against Aluminium than the cheap journalistic essay by the anonymous so-called expert.
Dr. Burn very fairly divides his summary of the bulky Aluminium literature into two halves. In the first superscribed “Experiments by Those Who Conclude that in Certain Circumstances the Consumption of Aluminium Compounds is Harmful” he summarises the conclusion of the opponents to Aluminium on four pages. Then under the heading “Experiments which suggest that, on the whole, Aluminium in Food is Harmless” he summarises on more than twelve pages the views of the champions of Aluminium, giving a quantity of the salient facts.
The curse of modern science is animal experimentation. The modern scientist or pseudo-scientist, instead of enquiring whether such and such food, medicine or drug is harmful or harmless, immediately tries the drug or food in question on a number of animals, giving them huge doses or injecting them, and after a time the wretched animals are killed, opened up and microscopically examined for the effects of the treatment or ill- treatment they have undergone. The modern scientist forgets that animal react totally differently from human beings. Needless to say the whole pamphlet is replete with animal evidence for and against Aluminium.
Animal experiments are not always wise and occasionally they are not honestly done. Consequently it often happens that experimenter B makes the identical experiments published by experimenter A and obtains totally different results. In the section in favour of Aluminium we read “scientific” statements such as: “Schaeffer, Fontes, Le Breton, Oberlong and Thivolle have published a paper describing the effects of feeding mice on a diet containing Aluminium phosphate.” “Seibert and Wells investigated the effect of Aluminium on the blood of rabbits when the Aluminium compounds were injected intravenously, and when they were administered by the mouth.” In 1928 McCollum, Rask and Becker described the effect of Aluminium in the diet of young rats.
Myers and Morrison investigated the amounts of Aluminium in the tissues of normal dogs.” This pitiful biological twaddle which smacks of the madhouse fills practically the whole of the pamphlet. If it were not for the prevailing mania, one would imagine that Dr. Burn would blush with shame in putting his name to this summary of nonsense.
It should not be thought that Dr. Burns monograph is exclusively filled with the evidence produced by laboratory animals. In America experiments were made on human beings. I am afraid the results obtained are not very convincing. A squad of healthy young men may be fed for a few weeks or months on scientifically graduated doses of Aluminium without ill effects, but this does not prove that Aluminium is harmless.
The question is whether Aluminium taken in small doses in the food, day after day, year after year, is or is not injurious and the experience of many doctors, both homoeopathic and orthodox, distinctly shows that Aluminium is dangerous. My impression is that Aluminium is not a poison like Arsenic or Strychnine which harms everyone, but that it harms only those who are susceptible. I know people who are in perfect health and who have used exclusively Aluminium vessels for many years. On the other hand I know of cases where ingestion of food cooked in Aluminium has produced violent vomiting and diarrhoea and more serious symptoms.
I remember a case of a tall, well-made and beautiful girl who suffered from violent diarrhoeas and vomiting during or after food. It had been suspected that she was suffering from tuberculosis of the bowels. Aluminium poisoning was surmised. She was told to avoid the use of Aluminium utensils absolutely. She recovered rapidly and put on a good deal of weight. After six months of freedom from these attacks she visited a friend and took a glass a warm milk and a few biscuits. The vomiting and diarrhoea reappeared and it was discovered that the glass of milk had been heated in an Aluminium saucepan.
I hope that my readers will abstain from the use of Aluminium and that they will treat with the contempt which they deserve those pseudo-scientists who base their views upon experiments upon animals which prove nothing except the brainlessness and the cruelty of their authors. The fact that Aluminium is definitely injurious has been proved by experiments made on doctors and medical students, by homoeopaths. Unfortunately those who make a living by torturing animals and publishing the result attach no value to the invaluable homoeopathic provings and they do not know of their existence.