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Aluminum carabiner health risks?
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By Josh Cameron
From Moab, Colorado
Apr 12, 2012
Castleton Summit Sunset
With all I've been hearing lately about how bad aluminum is for my health from water bottles, to cookware, to deodorant, I started wondering about climbing. After running a rope through a belay device enough times, our hands become covered in a blackish/grayish aluminum dust. I couldn't find any material out there on this risk, even though as climbers we are exposed to this potential health risk much more than the general public.

Wondering what the climbing community's take on this is. Am I making much ado about nothing or should I switch to a steel belay device and carabiner?

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By S Denny
From Aspen, CO
Apr 12, 2012
just wear gloves... switching to steel would SUCK

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By Marc H
From Lafayette, CO
Apr 12, 2012
The Cathedral Spires in RMNP, left to right: Stile...
If you're really worried about it, instead of switching to steel, I'd pick up a pair up leather gloves to belay and rappel with.

Studies have shown that aluminum can lead to Alzheimer's.

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 12, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Pea...
If you switched to a steel locker and belay device, it might keep your rope a little cleaner. That would be worthwhile. It's pretty well established that aluminum brake bars on rappelling racks really make ropes black, while the stainless brake bars don't do it as quickly.

I enjoy the weight savings with aluminum and don't care about the black oxide.

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Apr 12, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after...
When you live in a 70 year old house with lead paint, these things are much less of a concern.

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By DrApnea
From Wenatchee, WA
Apr 12, 2012
Climbing is more dangerous for your health than aluminum exposure from the carabiners that save it.

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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Apr 12, 2012
Try TOXNET on the National Library of Medicine. There's quite a few databases there (e.g., HSDB, DART, IRIS) and it is a good starting point. If you are really concerned, you can get in touch with me, and I'll look through the toxicology texts we have at work and some other sources.

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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Apr 12, 2012
Well I might have to switch over to Titanium carabiners then....

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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Apr 12, 2012
In particular, the link between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease has been the subject of scientific debate for several decades. However, the complex characteristics of aluminum bioavailability make it difficult to evaluate its toxicity and therefore, the relationship remains to be established.

Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2011 Mar 8;2011:276393.
Link between Aluminum and the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease: The Integration of the Aluminum and Amyloid Cascade Hypotheses.
Kawahara M, Kato-Negishi M.


AD is a complex multifactorial disorder and thus a single target or pathogenic pathway is unlikely to be identified.

Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2011 May;15(5):535-55. Epub 2011 Feb 11.
Neurobiological aspects of Alzheimer's disease.
Chopra K, Misra S, Kuhad A.


Misconceptions about Al bioavailability may have misled scientists regarding the significance of Al in the pathogenesis of AD. The hypothesis that Al significantly contributes to AD is built upon very solid experimental evidence and should not be dismissed.

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By Farzin
From San Diego, CA
Apr 12, 2012
Marc H wrote:
Studies have shown that aluminum can lead to Alzheimer's.


Actually, I have found that using aluminum carabiners have lead to developing AlzClimber's disease. I continually try to convince my wife that I don't remember climbing last weekend so I have to go out this weekend. Is there a cure???

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By Yonkonian
From Fort Collins, CO
Apr 12, 2012
Me
Quit climbing if your scared.

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By Marc H
From Lafayette, CO
Apr 12, 2012
The Cathedral Spires in RMNP, left to right: Stile...
Farzin wrote:
Is there a cure???


Yup: climb every weekend.

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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Apr 12, 2012
OTL
Shit - I'm effed. My 'good' rope has a teflon coated core and sheath, combining my Al dust with teflon. Unless the teflon helps it 'slip through' me.

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By Farzin
From San Diego, CA
Apr 12, 2012
Marc H wrote:
Yup: climb every weekend.


That's the only thing that seems to have an effect. Thanks...

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By JesseT
From Portland, OR
Apr 12, 2012
25' drop...wheeeeee!
Marc H wrote:
...Studies have shown that aluminum can lead to Alzheimer's.


Sort of. Studies have found a correlation between Alzheimers and high levels of aluminum in the brain. Correlation, however, does not imply causation (i.e. does aluminum cause Alzheimers, or does something about Alzheimers cause aluminum to collect that otherwise wouldn't?). Only time will tell.

That said, there is some anecdotal evidence of people who climb a lot being a little spacey. There are definitely other potential causes of that, though.

Is anyone out there an epidemiologist? Here's a freebie: I propose a study to compare the incidence of Alzheimers in climbers by age vs. that of the general population.

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By Tits McGee
From Boulder, CO
Apr 12, 2012
How I Send
Wait...What are we talking about again. I remember being interested, but forgot where I was about half way through.

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By Kurt Swanson
From Philadelphia, PA
Apr 12, 2012
View from the Jane Spy belay station
I've always wanted to say this....




















YER GONNA DIE!!!

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 12, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Pea...
JesseT wrote:
Sort of. Studies have found a correlation between Alzheimers and high levels of aluminum in the brain.



It's more than likely that people with Alzheimer's start to forget how many aluminum cupcakes they eat each day, and so they overeat. I know I only eat one aluminum cupcake a week with maybe one aluminum carrot serving as well.

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By Peter Pitocchi
Apr 12, 2012
Pete belays 2nd pitch Little corner
The good part is you could count every lap as an onsight

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By Ian Stewart
Apr 12, 2012
Of all the things for a climber to be worried about, I would have never thought a few aluminum particles would have made the list...

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By Sam Stephens
Apr 12, 2012
Top half of Melifluous
They pose huge risks, just ask this guy or my climbing partner Bennett who had the same thing happen.

mountainproject.com/images/95/...

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By Murdo
Apr 12, 2012
use a gri gri. the cam block is steel.

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By Evan S
From Erie, CO
Apr 12, 2012
Me, of course
If you're not heating or storing your food against it, drinking from cans, or building planes and inhaling a bunch of metal dust all day, you're probably fine.

"The average person cosumes between three and ten milligrams of aluminum a day.
Aluminum toxicity can lead to colic, rickets, gastrointestinal disturbances, poor calcium metabolism, exteme nervousness, anemia, headache, decreased liver and kidney function,
forgetfulness, speech disturbances and memory loss, softening of the bones, and weak
muscles."

Hanna Kroeger card files.

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By APBT1976
Apr 12, 2012
Black Dike 12/25/11
Did you all have to mention this.

As it is i try so freaking hard to use my cast iron pan and not my teflon pan. I strike out all the freaking time "dam you sauteed garlic and fried eggs and your sticking" tbh i think about it every dam time.

Not sure but i think my pots and pans are all aluminum? Fuck just Googled it. They are steel copper and aluminum layered together. WTF!!!

Probably a easy solution however it will probably cost another few hundred bucks to fix?

Pretty sure the chances of getting sick from aluminum are zero unless you take a bath in it daily like someone already suggested. I do however feel pretty strong that we are bombarded with things toxic to us all day every day and we are honestly the cause of most of our illness as a society. So taking limiting exposure to this stuff really is worth while.

I'm not gonna quit climbing but i will look into this and may replace my cookware depending? I def try my best to not eat canned food and try my best to consume as little as possible out of plastic packages.

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By Josh Cameron
From Moab, Colorado
Apr 12, 2012
Castleton Summit Sunset
Thanks for the replies everyone, both serious and humerous ;) You guys gave me some good stuff to think about. Seems the main reason to go to steel would be to keep my rope cleaner. However, I think I'll start washing my hands before I eat after climbing.

See ya out there!
Josh

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By Evan S
From Erie, CO
Apr 12, 2012
Me, of course
APBT1976 wrote:
Probably a easy solution however it will probably cost another few hundred bucks to fix?


The Yoshi Blue cookware is ceramic and artificial diamond, with shipping it's about $100 for a set of everything you need. The company's kinda gimicky and cheesy, but it's super non stick and totally non toxic.

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