The Case Against Aluminum in Vaccines

Story at-a-glance

  • Aluminum is a known neurotoxin; it can play a significant role in neurological diseases, including dementia, autism, and Parkinson’s disease
  • When you orally ingest aluminum, your body will absorb between 0.2-1.5 percent of it. When aluminum is injected, your body absorbs 100 percent, which is why aluminum-containing vaccines are suspected of great harm
  • Today, American children end up getting a grand total of 6,150 mcg of aluminum if they get all of their recommended vaccines


This is an older article that may not reflect Dr. Mercola’s current view on this topic. Use our search engine to find Dr. Mercola’s latest position on any health topic.

By Dr. Mercola

Aluminum is a known neurotoxin, and scientific evidence shows that it can play a significant role in neurological diseases, including dementia, autism, and Parkinson's disease.

For example, a case study from Keele University in the UK1 published last year unequivocally showed high levels of aluminum in the brain of an individual exposed to aluminum at work, who later died from Alzheimer's disease.

Most people are not exposed to toxic levels of aluminum at work however. Rather exposure occurs via common products such as antiperspirants, food, aluminum-based household products, and vaccines.

According to some experts, including Dr. David Ayoub, whom I've interviewed on this topic, and Dr. Suzanne Humphries, featured in the video above, aluminum in vaccines may pose very significant health risks.

Dr. Humphries has written one of the best books (Dissolving Illusions) out there documenting the historical framework of why vaccines have been an overhyped miserable failure. The book is loaded with hundreds of references, many of which document the vaccine failures.

The toxicity of aluminum—found in a number of common childhood and adult vaccines—may even exceed the toxicity of mercury in the human body.

"Even if vaccines can prevent some infections, considering what's in them, there's no way they can improve overall health," Dr. Humphries says. "And now they want to give vaccines to pregnant women, which in addition to these animal cells and associated genetic material also have aluminum in them."

Aluminum Is Toxic to All Life Forms

In 2013, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's (CHOP) vaccine education center website stated that:

"Aluminum is considered to be an essential metal with quantities fluctuating naturally during normal cellular activity. It is found in all tissues and is also believed to play an important role in the development of a healthy fetus."

This statement was reviewed by CHOP's Chief of Infectious Diseases—the staunch vaccine advocate and vaccine patent holder Paul Offit, MD, who's also notorious for claiming that an infant can theoretically tolerate 10,000 vaccines at once.

Such claims are in stark contrast to real-life incidents where infants have died after receiving certain vaccines or combinations of vaccines numbering in the single digits. In one recent case, a five-month old baby boy died in his sleep after receiving a second round of eight different vaccines.2

Since then, CHOP has revised this ridiculous statement, but still claims that aluminum adjuvants are of no concern, saying that "the aluminum contained in vaccines is similar to that found in a liter of infant formula.3" The site also says that:

"Given the quantities of aluminum we are exposed to on a daily basis, the quantity of aluminum in vaccines is miniscule. Aluminum-containing vaccines have been used for decades and have been given to over one billion people without problem."

What they fail to note is that eating and injecting aluminum is in no way equivalent. When you ingest aluminum, your body will absorb between 0.2-1.5 percent of it, or roughly one percent, according to Dr. Humphries.

A 2010 study published in Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology4 also refutes Dr. Offits's and Keith's claims of Safety. Dr. Keith's claim that vaccines do not add significantly to the load of total aluminum is just false, especially because babies' kidneys are not fully functional in the first months of life.

But the first vaccine in the USA, hepatitis B contains 225 mcg of aluminum, which is five times the total exposure of orally absorbed aluminum through the next six months. Premature babies have to deal with this load with even lower kidney function and lots more aluminum that comes from the medications given in the NICU.

When aluminum is injected, your body absorbs 100 percent of it, compared to the miniscule amount of stable silicated aluminum that is swallowed.

The cellular damage from aluminum exposure that Dr. Humphries discusses here is related to intramuscular injection—not ingestion, although the latter is certainly not going to boost your health either, especially if you have impaired kidney function, low albumin, or any underlying conditions for a relatively open blood-brain barrier.

Moreover, CHOP clearly fails to address the reality that as aluminum-containing vaccines—which are known to be neurotoxic—have become increasingly plentiful, neurological diseases such as autism and Alzheimer's have skyrocketed.

On the whole, it seems Dr. Offit has failed miserably in his efforts to review the appropriate literature published on aluminum. For example, the 2011 paper5 by Dr. Kawahara, cited in the featured lecture, states that:

"Whilst being environmentally abundant, aluminum is not essential for life. On the contrary, aluminum is a widely recognized neurotoxin that inhibits more than 200 biologically important functions and causes various adverse effects in plants, animals and humans."

In short, aluminum promotes cellular death, and Dr. Kawahara's paper explains why the link between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease failed to be noticed in some earlier studies.

How Aluminum Causes Harm

Aluminum is able to travel into places in your body where it can do significant harm, and your brain is one of the organs that is most sensitive to it. Adverse effects of aluminum exposure include:

DNA alterations, abnormal regulation of gene function, and gene expression interference It damages cell membranes, and causes your myelin—the insulating layer around your nerves—to stiffen and become dysfunctional
By binding to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), it affects your energy metabolismIncreased vascular endothelial adhesiveness and increased cardiovascular disease risk
Coagulation of proteins, which may alter their functionEnhanced excitotoxicity in your brain, and increased brain inflammation

According to Dr. Humphries, molecular biologists have also clearly demonstrated that exposure to aluminum skews your immune system to the Th2, or antibody driven immune system, which drives allergic responses.

Just How Much Aluminum Does an American Child Get from Vaccines?

While mercury preservative has been mostly removed from vaccines because of its known neurotoxicity, the levels of adjuvant aluminum have virtually no upper limit in the vaccine program. The number of aluminum-containing vaccines children receive today6 has quadrupled over the past 30 years. In the 1970s, children got only four aluminum-containing vaccines in their first 18 months of life, but now they typically receive 17.

A chart in Dr. Humphries lecture shows just how much aluminum is injected into an infant following the US vaccination schedule. By the age of 18 months, that infant has already received 4,925 micrograms (mcg) of aluminum, 100 percent of which is absorbed since it's given intramuscularly.

In the 1980s the amount of aluminum you got when following the childhood vaccination schedule amounted to 1,120 mcg, and importantly, it was given in more mature babies, not newborns. Today, American children end up getting a grand total of 6,150 mcg of aluminum if they get all of their recommended vaccines.

A 2002 study that set out to assess the minimal risk level for aluminum from infant diet and vaccines7 ended up using research that is far from applicable. To assess whether or not diet and vaccines in combination might result in dangerously high aluminum levels, the researchers looked at studies on rodents who ingested aluminum, and one study involving ONE healthy man with normal kidney function who received 0.7 mcg injected directly into his blood stream—a tiny fraction of what babies get. Intravenous aluminum is much more easily handled than intramuscular injection and Dr. Humphries describes exactly why in her video.

The aluminum he got was also a less toxic form than that used in vaccines. Several vaccines that are on the childhood vaccine schedule were also left out of Dr. Keith's theoretical risk calculation. Based on all this questionable data, it was concluded that between diet and vaccines, the aluminum burden children are exposed to is unlikely to do harm... Clearly, we need better scientific evidence than this.

Kidney function is another important consideration here, as infant kidney function is not equivalent to an adult. Hence excretion of aluminum is not as efficient in infants and young children, yet this fact is almost never taken into consideration—it certainly was not considered when assessing the minimal risk level above. That which is not excreted ends up bioaccumulating in various organs, including your brain, kidneys, and bones.

As noted in one 2013 study:8

"Alum has high neurotoxic potential, and planning administration of continuously escalating doses of this poorly biodegradable adjuvant in the population should be carefully evaluated by regulatory agencies since the compound may be insidiously unsafe. It is likely that good tolerance to alum may be challenged by a variety of factors including overimmunization, BBB [blood-brain barrier] immaturity, individual susceptibility factors, and aging, that may be associated with both subtle BBB alterations and a progressive increase of CCL2 [a protein-coding gene9] production."

Autism Symptoms Related to Aluminum, Acetaminophen, and Glyphosate Exposure

In this video, Dr. Stephanie Seneff discusses her research into vaccines and neurological damage. In 2012, she published a study10 linking symptoms of autism to aluminum adjuvants and acetaminophen exposure. According to the abstract:

"Our results provide strong evidence supporting a link between autism and the aluminum in vaccines. A literature review showing toxicity of aluminum in human physiology offers further support. Mentions of autism in VAERS increased steadily at the end of the last century, during a period when mercury was being phased out, while aluminum adjuvant burden was being increased.

Using standard log-likelihood ratio techniques, we identify several signs and symptoms that are significantly more prevalent in vaccine reports after 2000, including cellulitis, seizure, depression, fatigue, pain and death, which are also significantly associated with aluminum-containing vaccines. We propose that children with the autism diagnosis are especially vulnerable to toxic metals such as aluminum and mercury due to insufficient serum sulfate and glutathione. A strong correlation between autism and the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine is also observed, which may be partially explained via an increased sensitivity to acetaminophen administered to control fever."

In 2014, she published a paper in the journal Toxicology,11 which addresses the toxic effects of aluminum on biological systems. The paper notes that aluminum, while severely toxic by itself, also forms "toxic complexes" with other hazardous elements, including fluorine, and the hazards are compounded when it interacts with mercury, lead, and glyphosate. Dr. Seneff has also published groundbreaking research explaining how glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup, promotes chronic disease. With regards to the MMR vaccine, Dr. Seneff hypothesizes that the glutamate in the vaccine is another major part of the problem, over and above the effects of the aluminum.

"Glutamate is toxic to autistic kids, because they don't have enough manganese," she says. "So when that extra glutamate is injected in through the vaccine, it goes to the brain, because of the influence of glyphosate. Glyphosate actually opens up the barriers—the gut barrier and the brain barrier—to allow [toxins] to get in... The two are working synergistically... The glyphosate is depleting the manganese, which is causing the glutamate to be toxic, and the glyphosate is causing the glutamate to go into the brain..."

There's also synergistic harm going on between glyphosate and aluminum. Glyphosate chelates aluminum, effectively "hiding" the aluminum molecule inside the glyphosate molecule. When "caged" within glyphosate in this way, the aluminum gets even easier access to sensitive areas because, as mentioned, glyphosate opens up your gut- and brain barriers. Aluminum also piggybacks on your iron transport system, so it has many "helpers" allowing it to get around unimpeded. Glyphosate also brings aluminum into your pineal gland, which may account for why sleep disorders are so common among those with neurological disorders like autism and dementia.

Why Have Hazards of Aluminum Adjuvants Not Been Properly Addressed?

So, you're probably wondering why aluminum is still being used in vaccines if it's so dangerous—especially to infants. The very tail end of Dr. Humphries' talk reveals the most likely reasons for this, and if your initial hunch was that it's related to money, you'd be correct.

In 2004, Dr. Thomas Jefferson and colleagues with the Cochrane Collaboration, which is the gold standard for evidence-based reviews, conducted a meta-analysis12 on adverse events after immunization with aluminum-containing DTP vaccines, reaching the surprising conclusion that there was "no evidence that aluminum salts in vaccines cause any serious or long-lasting adverse events. Despite a lack of good-quality evidence we do not recommend that any further research on this topic is undertaken." Why would they dissuade any further investigation into aluminum adjuvants when there are still so many open questions, and despite admitting that there's a lack of quality evidence?

The answer, Dr. Humphries notes, is in the report itself, which states:

"Assessment of the safety of aluminum in vaccines is important because replacement of aluminum compounds in currently licensed vaccines would necessitate the introduction of a completely new compound that would have to be investigated before licensing. No obvious candidates to replace aluminum are available, so withdrawal for safety reasons would severely affect the immunogenicity and protective effects of some currently licensed vaccines and threaten immunization programs worldwide."


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