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Aluminium oxide, or bauxite, is one of the most common forms of aluminium on earth. It has a variety of uses, including corrosion resistance and protection against fire.
The chemical formula for aluminum oxide is Al2O3. Its odorless, white crystalline powder is insoluble in water.
It is produced by refining bauxite ore (aluminium ore) to make aluminium alloys. It is also used as an abrasive and lubricant.
Alumina fumes and dust particles can cause pulmonary fibrosis in workers working with these materials in bauxite refining or other industrial applications. This condition is known as Shaver's disease and was first described in 1947.
Exposure to aluminium oxide can cause damage to the central nervous system, causing brain lesions and loss of memory. It may also cause changes in the chemistry of the body's cells, leading to chronic immune system suppression.
Reproduction and developmental toxicity
Exposure at high doses or over long periods of time can lead to birth defects in the baby, as well as a higher risk of cancer and other diseases later in life. This has been linked to the mutagenic and carcinogenic properties of aluminium (Al).
Repeated exposures to Al can also lead to neurotoxic effects, particularly at the highest doses. This can lead to learning disabilities and dementia in older adults.
A recent case study aimed to assess the risks of three aluminium substances that are being considered for REACH registration in accordance with EU risk assessment reports and HERAG guidance on metals (European Commission, 2007; HERAG, 2007). This article discusses the challenges encountered and provides lessons learned.