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Aluminium (ZR)

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Aluminium (ZR)

zoe_robert_dlAs I look around the room, I wonder how many of the items in the office contain aluminum. The computer—obviously—paperclips, keys, phone, desk chair, thermos, calendar and notebook (in the wire binders), batteries, CDs, handbag, pen?

Aluminum is all around us.

I’ve heard some people opposed to the aluminum industry say that they simply don’t use aluminum but that’s clearly not possible once you’ve learnt how extensively it’s used: from fruit juice packaging to deodorant, sun cream, vaccines and medication.

One of the films showing at this year’s Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF) is The Age of Aluminium (Die Akte Aluminium) by Austrian director Bert Ehgartner.

At a Q&A session after the screening of the film yesterday evening, Ehgartner revealed that during his research, he was told by scientists that aluminum was the “dirty little secret of immunology” because the full impacts of the element on the human body are not known.

Originally, Ehgartner was planning on filming the movie in Iceland, a country where aluminum smelting is considered an important part of the economy.

The film covers the environmental impacts of the mining and production of aluminum but also the possible health impacts. It takes a look at patients and scientists concerned with the links between aluminum and diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

The film reminded me of another documentary which was screened at RIFF 2011, Submission, about the chemicals and their influence on humans and nature.

Ehgartner, a journalist and science writer, explained that researchers have been finding it difficult to secure funding to look into the issue but that clearly more work needs to be done.

Some cast off suggestions of potential dangers as mere conspiracy theory but what the film shows is that with such extensive use of aluminum, don’t we owe it to ourselves to better investigate these potential risks?

Zoë Robert – [email protected]

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