Pure Aluminium Oxide.
DRUG PICTURES: 83.
WE have been asked for a drug picture of Alumina. People are much interested in this metal and its compounds, because of its extensive use, now that it can be cheaply produced, as a strong, light, heat-defying material for domestic cooking pots. In fact, we are told that it is almost impossible, in these days, to procure anything else. A great controversy has been raging intermittently in regard to these useful cooking utensils. The public has even been officially reassured in regard to their harmlessness:- by those who have not our exact knowledge of the symptoms of any poisoning, or the smallness of the dose that may, in sensitives, give rise to symptoms.
Occasional ingestions of any deleterious substance may be practically harmless-easily dealt with by the organism and overcome, whereas constant small poisonings must tell on health:- in the way that, as we are told, the smallest quantity of lead in drinking water may produce a profound anaemia. As a matter of face, if there were no danger in the use of aluminium for cooking purposes, why should purchasers be warned that soda not be used cleansing them ? and why should we be assured that there is far less danger in the employment of the more expensive Aluminium saucepans, made of pure material. If there were no danger, could there be less.
Well, anyway, aluminium becomes interesting to us all now that we are absorbing it, most of us, all day long and every day. It is not needed in our make-up, and is at best, a foreign body.
If we have been wise, and discarded aluminium for any cooking purpose in our homes, yet in places away from home, where Londons millions get at least coffee and light foods at mid-day and in the tea hour, they are exposed to the danger of milk boiled in aluminium saucepans and to eggs contaminated in the same way. Curiously enough, cases have been reported where persons have declared that they could not eat eggs; that they found eggs absolutely poisonous: and yet, when induced to “venture on an egg” cooked in iron or enamel, it has proved to be perfectly digestible.
One had an idea that aluminophobia was just a fad about which tiresome persons were always writing and making a fuss. But ones scepticism was first shaken a couple of years ago, when a very level-headed doctor described the curious condition of her precious puppy, dying at three-and-a-half months old of what no, one, even a very eminent “vet.”, could diagnose. She had been doing his cooking herself in the best aluminium saucepan procurable, and in few days he began to vomit p.c.
After a month of incessant vomiting, he was emaciated, and after six weeks he could not stand. He was “a dreadful sight,” and vomited even after drink of water. She was going to have him “put to sleep” when the post brought a pamphlet on aluminium poisoning in dogs. She got an enamel saucepan, and the dog at once improved and never looked back. A friends dog was suffering in the same ways, and her dog-and husband-both improved in health when aluminium was banished from the kitchen.
But all persons do not seem to suffer equally from aluminium Why ? Doubtless because what we call idiosyncrasy, for want of wider, or more particular knowledge, comes in here. One man is poisoned by strawberries-by mushrooms-by dates: a thousand are not.
“One mans meat is another mans poison”:-is it not in proverbs that the collective experience of mankind is embodied ? Probably it is n individual question of certain conditions of blood, of secretion-of food or drink ingested that make for poisonous compounds of aluminium in certain persons.
A rather alarming case of supposed aluminium poisoning is given in an American medical journal-mislaid at the moment, but doubly interesting because of a similar cases just now in ones private practice. It was malignant disease of oesophagus, which cleared up when aluminium cooking vessels were discarded !It there, in the provings of Alumina, anything suggestive here ? We will quote from Allens Encyclopedia of Pura Materia Medica:
“Sense of constriction from the oesophagus down to the stomach every time he swallows a morsel of food. . . . Contraction of the oesophagus. . . . Violent, pressive pain, as if a portion of the oesophagus were contracted or compressed in the middle of the chest, especially during deglutition, but also when not swallowing, with oppression of the chest. . . . Spasmodically pressive pain in middle of chest, on swallowing food and drink.” One would point out that in these cases it is the lower end of the oesophagus that is the site of the mass, and therefore constriction-“the middle of the chest”.