By Ellis Barker J.
MANY years ago, when going for long walks, I carried with me an aluminium flask full of cold tea. One day I did not take the flask and when on the following morning I wished to drink the cold tea I found it was as black as ink, aluminium having been dissolved by the tea. This gave me a great prejudice against aluminium which I found justified by scientific publications, which I read later on.
Messrs. John Bale, Sons & Danielsson, Ltd. have published at the price of 2s. 6d. a pamphlet by Dr. Leo Spira, “The Clinical Aspect of Chronic Poisoning by Aluminium,” in which we read:.
“Three main groups of symptoms are distinctly discernible, namely, gastro-intestinal, cutaneous and general. In the first group of outstanding feature is constipation. It appears that this complaint is present in almost every patient. Constipation is invariably accompanied by flatulence and colicky pain of such severity as in some cases to suggest the possibility of gastric or duodenal ulcer, gallstones, kidney stones, colitis or even acute abdomen, and resistance of the abdominal wall associated with tympanitis appears common. Some patients complain of dryness in the mouth and throat.
The appetite is considerably impaired, or entirely lost, and there is retching during of after meals. The tongue loses the natural aspect of a flesh coloured, moist smooth surface. There appears a thick, white or dirty grey fur with the papillae red and enlarged. Later on, in much advanced cases, the tongue becomes indented by the teeth, raw and excoriated.”.
“Certain skin conditions also appear to be present. Acute and chronic urticarias (nettle rash) and in the acute cases the signs and symptoms are often of such unusual severity as immediately to suggest their being due to a highly potent irritant which in its action is closely similar to Arsenic. Cases of pruritus ( itching) generalized all over the body appear to be extremely common.
Sometimes this is more pronounced in the hands and feet. Scattered over the skin small and large moles are observed. Loss of hair and horny degeneration of palms and soles and chilblains on the fingers and toes are frequently met with. The finger nails become soft and brittle.
“Turning to the third group of symptoms, frequent attacks of neuralgia and twitching of the legs must be mentioned. They occur mostly at night during sleep. Pain in the fingers and toes with numbness and deadness, in some cases even gangrene of the toes, occur.
Pains of the most severe type, diagnosed as being of rheumatic origin, are a very common occurrence. Giddiness and excessive perspiration are frequently observed and anaemia is a regular feature. It must, of course not be assumed that all the symptoms in each case have been developed to the marked degree which has been described.”.
From the pamphlet it appears that Dr. Spira has studied cases of aluminium poisoning during ten years. He himself suffered from a weird eruption on the hands which no specialist could cure. Apparently it was cured by giving up the use of aluminium cooking utensils.
Dr. Spira is an allopath and his treatments of cases of aluminium poisoning are extremely elementary regarded from the homoeopathic point of view. He gives to his patients vigorous laxatives and large doses of vegetable charcoal, being obviously guided by the allopathic superstition that drugs should be given in large quantities. The great value of Spiras pamphlet, which is not very well written, consists in a bibliography with more than a hundred entries.
I myself have seen some remarkable cases of aluminium poisoning. Miss P., a very tall girl, suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea which attacked her as soon as she started eating. Naturally she became totally emaciated and strengthless. Her motions frequently consisted of completely undigested food, which was rapidly swept through stomach and bowel.
She was given the indicated homoeopathic medicines, a strengthening diet, and was told not to use aluminium cooking utensils, and she rapidly became well. Some months after she told me over the telephone that she had had one of her old attacks while with friends. She thought that it could not have been due to the food because she had had nothing except some biscuits and a glass of warm milk.
I made her enquire whether the milk was heated in aluminium. It had indeed been heated in aluminium. Since then she has always enquired about aluminium when taking meals outside her house and there have been no further attacks of violent vomiting and diarrhoea during or immediately after meals.
A year ago a lady of my acquaintance sent to me her brother, Captain D., who was desperately ill. He was a man of magnificent physique, who told me that he had never been ill in his life, but he was gradually going to pieces. He looked and felt extremely ill and had become very weak, almost strengthless. Many symptoms suggested Arsenic poisoning and examination of the iris snowed numerous white cloudlets which are produced by given any medicine or tonic containing Arsenic or whether there was Arsenic in the wall paper, etc.
He thought that there was no possibility of his having absorbed Arsenic. I then asked about aluminium which produces very similar symptoms and learned that in the kitchen only aluminium utensils were used. I thereupon regulated his diet, gave him a few suitable homoeopathic remedies, and Alumina 200, a single dose to be taken every Wednesday, as an aluminium antidote. After a few weeks he was completely restored and he told me that immediately after taking the aluminium antidote he had felt vastly better. Wednesday was a day to be looked forward to.
Messrs. John Bale, Sons & Danielsson have published two further pamphlets on aluminium, “The Danger of Food Contamination by Aluminium and Homoeopathy”. Both were written by Dr. Le Hunte Cooper and are obtainable at 2s. each. They are far more readable than the Spira pamphlet, but they lack a bibliography. Aluminium poisoning is very frequent. I have seen scores of cases myself.
There are people who are extremely susceptible to aluminium poisoning like Miss P., and there are others who apparently can ingest aluminium in quantities. I have no doubt that both Miss P. and Captain D. would have died if aluminium poisoning had continued in their case, but the death certificate would not have mentioned aluminium poisoning as the cause of death. In the former case, the girl would probably have become tuberculous, while my military friend was in danger of dying of kidney disease.
Aluminium is produced by one of the wealthiest trusts in the world. Large advertisers are treated with the greatest consideration by journals dependent on their advertisement revenue. Further, a large and wealthy corporation can publish, regardless of expense, opinions of experts regarding the harmlessness of their productions. So-called experts feed a number of laboratory animals with small doses of aluminium and, if they do not show any ill-effect, we are told in scientific language that the consumption of aluminium in small doses is quite harmless to human beings. Of course laboratory animals and human beings react differently to different drugs.
The only conclusive experiments are experiments on human beings. There is an abundance of evidence available that aluminium is a dangerous poison. Dr. Cooper, Dr. Spira, or some other medical man may erect a monument to himself by writing a book of few hundred pages in which the subject of aluminium poisoning is treated exhaustively with scores of examples and possibly with experiments made on human beings.
An enthusiastic doctor should be able to organize a squad of twenty medical students to put aluminium to the practical test, and if a considerable percentage of these students should develop distinct signs of aluminium poisoning the aluminium question would be solved.