A toxinAn abundant elemental metalThat stuff I use to cook dinnerWhat cans are made of
An abundant elemental metal!
Aluminum is the most abundant metal found on the planet!
AirWaterAntacidsSome vaccinesAnti-perspirantsBaking powderProcessed foodsAspirinBreast milkAll of the above
All of the above!
There are a variety of ways we can be exposed to aluminum
Al(OH)3 is a commonly used adjuvant! Contrary to popular belief, aluminum metal is NOT present in vaccines, rather it is present in other ways.
PreservativeAdjuvantToxin put there by the government to harm usIt has no purpose
Explained more later, an adjuvant is used to boost your immune response to a vaccine!
Aluminum?! In vaccines?!
Yes, it's true. There are aluminum-based adjuvants that are used in vaccines. Many anti-vaxers will tell you that there is aluminum in vaccines and that it's toxic, what they won't tell you is that it's not aluminum metal, rather it is "aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, alum (potassium aluminum sulfate), or mixed aluminum salts," and although these contain aluminum, they are not the same thing as elemental aluminum, which can be toxic to the human body.
But wait, what is an adjuvant?
Still want to know more about adjuvants? Watch this video.
But isn't aluminum toxic?
Well, yes, any ~*metal*~ is toxic in large quantities. Aluminum is the most abundant metal on the planet, so good luck avoiding it entirely. Everything from food, air, water, make-up, and deodorant to ant-acids and aspirins contains some amount of aluminum. Any aluminum that is ingested will subsequently be passed through your feces, and any that enters your blood passes through the urine relatively quickly.
I'm still not sold on aluminum in vaccines though...
Sure, I hear you. You still want more information. How about a story? Currently there are five childhood vaccines (and one booster) that contain aluminum-based adjuvants. As a refresher, those vaccines prevent diseases such as Hepatitis A and B (HepA and HepB), Haemophilus influenzae type B (HiB), and pertussis (whooping cough, DTaP vaccine). Whooping cough is a very serious respiratory infection, most harmful to infants, that causes an uncontrollable, violent cough. While this disease is vaccine-preventable, many mothers are choosing not to vaccinate their babies. A story that was featured on the Today Show titled “Mom urges vaccination in video of baby with whooping cough” shows just how horrific this vaccine-preventable disease can be. The link to the web article and video is included here. The video currently has over 3 million views.
The description the mother includes under the video contains this statement: “So for those of you sitting on the fence on whether to vaccinate yourself and your kids or not… maybe this will convince you.” She goes on to describe how the coughing fit captured on the video is considered nothing compared to days before she filmed him. She recalls watching him turn blue from coughing so long and so much that he wasn’t even able to stop and take a breath. This four-month-old baby, had he not received his first round of vaccinations on time, may have had a dramatically different experience with whooping cough.
A response article titled “A Mother I Never Met Changed My Mind About Vaccines” was written by Courtney Allen from Missouri on the Voices for Vaccines Blog, linked here. Courtney was an outspoken anti-vax mother, who even opted out of vaccinating her own children due to “religious beliefs” when it came time for them to be enrolled in school. She recalls that after watching the video, she was “stricken with fear and sadness for the mother and sadness for the baby.” After that, she did her research on vaccines. She found out for herself, that most anti-vax claims, are extremely misleading, and some are even bold-faced lies. She even calls out to other mothers that might be anti-vax or vax-hesitant to sit down and do the research for themselves, and to neither delay nor deny vaccines for their children OR themselves. Vaccines really do save lives, but sadly many mothers are lessening the chances of survival for their children by believing the false claims about vaccines, including that those containing aluminum are toxic.
What kind of research is there that shows the safety of aluminum in vaccines?
I'm glad you asked! If you go to and just type in "aluminum adjuvant," you get over 6,000 results - that's over 6,000 primary scientific journal articles, and reviews of those articles. Now, you might need a subscription or an affiliation with a University to view most of the articles, but I have you covered on that, too.
A review article published in the Frontiers in Immunology Journal in 2013 looked at the mechanism of immunopotentiation (enhancement of the immune response) and safety of aluminum adjuvants. The paper goes in-depth in the immunology, so bear with any abbreviations and terminology. In mice, aluminum adjuvants are selective to a Th2 immune response (in general, Th2 responses are more effective against extracellular bacteria, parasites including helminths and toxins), while in humans they illicit a mixed response (mostly ending up with an increased production of antibodies). Adsorption of antigens to aluminum adjuvant does enhance the immune response. It does that by aiding phagocytosis and slowing down the dispersement of those antigens from the injection site. This slowing down allows time for your body's inflammatory cells to respond and accumulate. The authors credit the widespread use of aluminum adjuvants to the excellent safety record (over 70 years), and because they cause local inflammation at the injection site while reducing the severity of systemic and local reactions. A quote from the paper summarizes the importance of adjuvants: "Adjuvants increase the proportion of the vaccinated population that develops an immune response, and may allow for fewer immunizations and a reduced amount of antigen per dose" (HofenEsch, 2013).
Of importance to note, is the maximum amount of aluminum adjuvant in human vaccines (0.85 mg Al/dose). The amount found in a given vaccine can range anywhere from 0.125 to 0.85 mg Al/dose, but never higher. Most of the aluminum, as mentioned before, is excreted though urine (thanks to your kidneys). One of the main things people hang on to when talking about aluminum adjuvants is that they enter the blood, and since most aluminum-containing vaccines are given to infants (sometimes multiple at a time), that the aluminum can cause toxicity in the blood. This was studied recently in rabbits (a study that was included in this review paper), and researchers concluded that over a 28 day period, only 17% of aluminum hydroxide (adjuvant) was released into the blood. The conclusion of HofenEsch was that based on this study, and others like it, it was recently estimated that "the concentration of aluminum in blood derived from vaccines administered to infants during the first year of life remains well below the minimum risk level established by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry" (2013). While this author does attest to the overall safety of using aluminum adjuvants, he also acknowledges the need for ongoing research (which is important in any area of science).
Still not sold???
Like I said, there is tons of information out there, you just need to know how to look, and where to find it. A good place to start (insert conspiracy theory here) is the CDC or the FDA. I know, I know, I'm asking you to trust the government, shocking, but they are very transparent about what they put in vaccines and why they put them in there. You can even go through vaccines by ingredient if you really wanted to. If you are weary about what the government has to say, talk to your doctor! They get paid (by you/your insurance) to know this information, they are there for you. The information you seek is at your fingertips, waiting for you to find it.
HogenEsch H. Mechanism of Immunopotentiation and Safety of Aluminum Adjuvants. Frontiers in Immunology. 2012;3:406. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2012.00406.