Can you believe that almost everyone you know has drunk from an aluminum can? At picnics, or perhaps a food truck, anyone can enjoy a cold beverage that is light and convenient to hold. In the U.S. alone, there are more than a billion cans used every year. That’s almost 350 cans per person, or around a can per day. Besides soda, beer contributes to that number as well. At the end of the day, the country uses a significant amount of aluminum.
A big reason why aluminum is used has to do with its ability to be recycled. So every little snap cap and shard of aluminum, no matter how sharp, can be repurposed and reused. Obviously, not all aluminum makes it to the recycling bin. There are a lot of people out there that collect cans to help with that matter, which assures the enjoyment of recycled cans in the future.
Aluminum cans are found almost everywhere. Many also think nothing harmful could come from such light recycled containers. However, there may be a few things to worry about when consuming from these cans. Aluminum poisoning might not be that common when it comes to these containers, but there could be few things we need to take into account when popping open your next beverage.
To help you recognize some of the harms that aluminum can do to your health, we have taken the time to rank important points by health risk. It’s always good to know what we are consuming to stay healthy.
1. Germs and Bacteria
The most common thing that we do when we get thirsty at a park, sports center or even at school is go to the nearest vending machine and pop the cap of a canned drink to quench our thirst. We don’t think about how long the cans have been there or how they even got there. We do remember the guy with the dolly though, making sure that your beverage of choice is always there. There is something that lurks in every can: bacteria and potential fecal matter. Regardless of where you bought your six-pack of soda or beer, or from what company it was shipped from, these germs and bacteria will always be present.
You may be wondering the reason why. Imagine how many hands have handled the can you’re holding and all the places that cans have been for shipment and distribution. Now think about what can happen when cans are waiting to be shipped to your local store. Even there your beverage is not safe. Many people also like to read what the cans contain, picking up one after the other, sometimes without purchasing. Bacteria, germs, fecal matter will always have a presence on every can.
The most crucial element is fecal matter. Specifically, rat fecal matter. The top of your can is the most vulnerable to this since rats or rodents are constantly crawling, leaving lots of their poo and urine and many other germs and bacteria. Just keep this in mind next time you feel thirsty reaching for a can.
2. Bisphenol A
You may have noticed if you watch the news that in recent years the chemical compound Bisphenol A has been mentioned many times. From storing beverages and food, this commercial plastic is used in a lot of different products we all use today. Unfortunately, we have learned and researched that BPA could adversely affect cognitive development in children. Now you can be assured that this compound chemical has been removed from the items that children use.
The place you will find BPA these days is food storage. Other companies have found alternatives to BPA, but regardless BPA will continue its presence. For example, cans are lined with BPA to ensure a longer shelf life at the store. Please keep reading to continue learning about BPA.
As mentioned before cans are in fact lined with BPA. This is no problem since the amount used in order to line a can has completely changed. By only adding a microscopic amount, BPA is not dangerous. With research that Health Canada conducted states that you would have to drink almost a thousand cans every day for any effect.
BPA does stay in your body for a good while. No matter the amount that is consumed you can rest assured it is there. All this info was managed and researched by Scientific America. So this means that as long as your level of consumption is low, then you are not at risk. For those that consume from aluminum cans almost every day can potentially be at risk for some type of condition. BPA does eventually get flushed out of our bodies, though, again it depends on our level of consumption. Consuming from a high number of aluminum cans has shown researchers that high blood pressure can happen quickly. The more you use aluminum cans the worse it gets.
Limiting the use of cans is an option to get rid of BPA chemicals from our bodies. Although BPA poisoning is not common, staying healthy is always key. We can choose to not use cans at all. You can also avoid risk by pouring its contents into other types of containers like glass, or a different plastic.
3. Poisoning by Aluminum
By now you are probably asking yourself, does this compound chemical get into all canned food? Yes. As long as the manufacturers use this chemical it will get into the beverage in your hands. This does not mean that you are poisoning yourself with every drink or can of soup you eat. As mentioned before the amount of BPA that is in the can is microscopic. So the risk is incredibly minuscule. If you really want to know how much it takes to get aluminum poisoning, consider the following: it would take one milligram of aluminum per one kilogram of body mass.
To understand better, a person that has a weight of around 180 pounds would have to consume 82 milligrams of aluminum of it to be dangerous. This equals thousands of aluminum cans. The good news is that aluminum does not stay inside of our bodies the way BPA does. Aluminum is insoluble. Our bodies will get rid of any aluminum that could potentially harm us in any way before it creates any risk.
When it comes to aluminum cans, there is honestly no risk of poisoning. In case it still bothers you to have this in your body alternatives are always a choice.
Plastic or Aluminum? Which is Better?
Are aluminum cans really that risky? Let’s continue to read to find out more.
If your main concern was that aluminum cans can somehow give you cancer, you can be assured these are not fatal. Many still believe this to be true. Please remember that there are still risks to consider when consuming from these containers. The level of consumption is the biggest factor that determines how much you are putting yourself at risk. Next time your drinking your seventh or eighth soda think about how it affects your health.
In the end, consider the contents from the aluminum can are more dangerous than the can itself. To name a few, heart disease, obesity, and heart problems are just a few conditions that consuming a large amount of soda. For people who think that drinking diet soda would make a difference, it honestly does not change much. To make sure that we and our loved ones stay healthy is to consider moderation. Maybe you don’t get that extra case this week at the grocery store or maybe there are other drinks you can try. The point is that we stay informed about what we consume and from what we are consuming.