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Uses: As a food additive it is used solely for external decoration where it can be found in the covering of dragées and the decoration of sugar-coated flour confectionery, in cake decorations and to give a silvery finish to pills and tablets.

However, it is also added to the tap water drinking supply in some areas to remove discolouration and is widely available in antacid treatments.

It can also be ingested from soft drinks in aluminium cans used past their sell-by dates, when the aluminium content of the drink has been found to exceed the limits laid down by the EC for drinking water, and by the use of aluminium pots and pans and cooking foil and utensils.

There is an increasing body of evidence to suggest that an accumulation of aluminium in the cells of the nervous system could be potentially toxic.

It is found in abnormally high levels in the brain cells of Alzheimer's disease sufferers, accumulated in the neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic plaques, but it is not yet known whether it has a causative or resultant role in the disease.

Increased urinary excretion of magnesium and calcium has been reported following regular antacid use.

Not permitted in Australia.

Description: Aluminium is a naturally occurring element. It is used in food as a metallic surface coating.

There is evidence that aluminium accumulation in body cells could be toxic and linked to Parkinson-type diseases, or that skeletal deformations could occur.

Pure aluminium is a silvery-white metal that is capable of taking a high polish, has high thermal and electrical conductivity, has excellent corrosion resistance, is non-magnetic, malleable and ductile.

It is the most commonly occurring metal in the earth's crust (8.3% by weight), and as well as being used in the food industry, is also used in the construction and aerospace industries, in aerosol cans and foil.

Production of Al metal involves the following: (i) extraction, purification and dehydration of bauxite; (ii) the electrolysis of Al2O3 dissolved in molten cryolite.

E 173 Aluminium

                       E 174 Silver>>>