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Health effects of inhaling anodized aluminium

  1. May 28, 2007 #1
    Quick question (...and I hope I have this in the right forum)

    Does anybody know anything about the effects of inhaling dust particles of anodized aluminium?

    I am especially interested about finding information on any possible negative effects on the respratory and cardiovascular systems. (but any known health hazards would be appreciated)

    I've tried wikipedia.org and several different tries on Google, but so far pretty much everything I've found has just been referencing why some people prefer to use anodized aluminium cookware.:grumpy:

    Any and all help will truely be appreciated.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2007 #2

    Evo

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    Where are you coming into contact with "dust particles" of anodized aluminum?

    I can find no health hazards from anodized aluminum or even regular aluminum. Anything inhaled in large enough quantities can be a hazard, of course.

    If you are working in a plant where anodized aluminum is being worked to where particles of it would somehow become airborne, I would assume you would be wearing some sort of face mask.

    As for cookware

    http://www.dmaonline.org/fppublic/connect56.html

    More on the safety of aluminum and anodized aluminum can be found here

    http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/CONSUMER/CON00036.html
     
  4. May 29, 2007 #3

    Moonbear

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    It would also likely depend on the size of the particles. There are folks doing research on nano-sized particles as inhalation hazards, because these very small particles can get past the body's natural "barriers" and penetrate pretty far into the lungs, where they cause problems due to irritation. But that's not specific to the chemical composition of the particles, just any particles of such a small size. I don't know of anything specifically about anodized aluminum.
     
  5. May 30, 2007 #4
    Thanks very much for the info. My stepdad lately has been having some health problems and works with a machine that punches out small parts made from anodized aluminium. There is always a fine metallic dust in the area around his work station and neither he nor any of his co-workers wear respirators or even just a basic mask. I will pass on this info to my parents and if anyone comes across any info I will update them with it as well.
     
  6. May 30, 2007 #5

    Moonbear

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    This doesn't apply specifically to anodized aluminum, but just aluminum, but from my understanding, just the inflammatory reaction to the "dust" is what causes the health problems, and doesn't require any specific toxicity due to the material itself (of course, that could be the case too, but I didn't see anything pop up in a quick search on the subject).

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...=Retrieve&dopt=abstractplus&list_uids=3569186

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/...uids=16052892&query_hl=35&itool=pubmed_docsum

    All of these are just the abstracts, and you'll have to search through your own library to get the full length articles for the first two. This last one is probably the least relevant, but the full length article is freely available here:
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=16263512

    You might be able to find more relevant information following the references in that.

    Your father definitely should be wearing at least a respirator to work in an environment with a lot of dust in the air. Even if it turns out his current problems are unrelated, he should protect his future health and/or prevent worsening of the problem by using a respirator. If his employer isn't making them available, tell him to report them to OSHA to force them to do it for his and everyone else's health, or whatever relevant regulatory agency covers occupational safety if you aren't in the U.S.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2007
  7. May 31, 2007 #6

    Evo

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    It sounds as if he should not only be wearing a respirator but safety goggles that completely cover his eyes. If he works in the US, his employer is more than likely in violation.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2007
  8. May 31, 2007 #7

    Q_Goest

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    Hi BigFish,
    You didn't mention what kind of health problems, though you seem to be implying respitory problems.

    Industry works with "Material Safety Data Sheets" (MSDS) to determine what type of health or safety hazard a particular material may represent. For aluminum dust, you can find that here:
    http://www.eagerplastics.com/almsds.htm

    If you do a search on MSDS and ALUMINUM, ANODIZED, DUST, or any combination thereof, you can find a lot more about any health issues. Here are couple of hits I got that essentially answer the question you're asking:
    http://www.finishing.com/261/57.shtml
    http://www.finishing.com/381/64.shtml

    In short, it doesn't look like anodized aluminum dust is much of a health risk, though I'd agree with the others here that if there's a significant amount of dust, or if you work with this product every day, it would be best to use a respirator. Still, it doesn't seem to be implicated in any significant health issue. People in the welding, machining and fabricating industry are constantly exposed to similar sources of dust, but I rarely see people wearing respirators for these types of fine dust particles. Without knowing more about the case, it doesn't seem to me there would be any serious health issues from breathing in a small amount of dust.

    Note also that the amount of dust generated by punching operations is extremely slight compared to grinding operations. Also, grinding throws the particles into the air whereas punching doesn't. Punching aluminum sheet isn't likely to be a problem. Now if the shop has a lot of grinding going on, that might change things.
     
  9. Jun 1, 2007 #8

    Moonbear

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    The MSDS will only address issues related to specific toxicity of the anodized aluminum, which there doesn't appear to be. It does not address generalized or non-specific irritation/inflammation from dust. Even non-toxic dust can be a significant irritant. That's the focus of the research I mentioned above, particularly as nanotechnology is becoming a hot field and those finer dust particles are being introduced to the workplace atmosphere. I didn't find the publications of the specific group I know of on my quick search (didn't look for them by name) but they are at NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health).
     
  10. Jun 1, 2007 #9

    Q_Goest

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    Hi Moonbear,
    Another thing the MSDS does is provide employers guidance on personal protection. If an MSDS doesn't specifically address a type of personal protective gear, I suspect it will be hard to make a case in court for employer negligence. Section 8 covers this. Note the employer is responsible for maintaining a copy of the MSDS, which should be readily available to any employee - something I'd suggest BigFish look into.
     
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