How long did the Watchtower Society's campaign against aluminium last?

by slimboyfat 31 Replies latest jw friends

  • GromitSK

    But isn't spelled like that Leolaia (in UK anyway) Aluminium - not Platinium and what the hell is lanthanum? :)

  • Leolaia
    But isn't spelled like that Leolaia (in UK anyway) Aluminium - not Platinium

    It's spelled as it is pronounced in the US as aluminum; it isn't spelled aluminium here. So the spelling in this case matches with platinum.

    Lathanum is one of the elements on the periodic table. There are others ending in -um as opposed to -ium (e.g. molybdenum, tantalum, etc.), tho of course -ium is far more productive.

  • RubaDub

    Until they received a donation for several hundred thousand shares of Alcoa stock.

    Rub a Dub

  • slimboyfat

    We all know Amercians have difficultly with aluminium, but let's not wander off the main issue in case we get disorientated.

    Thanks Leolaia for sketching out the history. I didn't think the phobia lasted as long as 1969. And it's interesting it was apparently confined to The Golden Age and its successor magazines. Have you got access to early Awake! and Consolation magazines in searchable format?

    That quote from the 1987 Awake! magazine is interesting. For young Witnesses who knew nothing about the Society's aluminium phobia it probably went unnoticed. But perhaps for the old timers is was a knowing wink, as if to say, 'you know maybe we were on to something all along'.

  • blondie
    Present-day spelling

    Most countries use the spelling aluminium (with an i before -um). In the United States, this spelling is largely unknown, and the spelling aluminum predominates. [ 55 ] [ 56 ] The Canadian Oxford Dictionary prefers aluminum, whereas the Australian Macquarie Dictionary prefers aluminium.

    The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) adopted aluminium as the standard international name for the element in 1990, but three years later recognized aluminum as an acceptable variant. Hence their periodic table includes both. [ 57 ] IUPAC officially prefers the use of aluminium in its internal publications, although several IUPAC publications use the spelling aluminum. [ 58 ]

  • slimboyfat

    Thanks for the quotes Blondie. I think there is some evidence that aluminium exposure may be linked to Altzheimer's. This is perhaps different than the Society's earlier claim that it caused cancer and all sorts of illnesses.

  • GromitSK

    Thanks Leolaia :)

  • Leolaia

    Both spellings have official status, so it comes down to convention and what people are used to. If one wants to be really particular, then one could note that the oxide form is universally accepted by both British and Americans as alumina, and -a suffixed oxides otherwise always derive from -um forms, not -ium (cf. lanthanum|aluminum : lanthana|alumina vs. magnesia|thoria : magnesium|thorium). Aluminium would have aluminia as its oxide. But what is the English language, if not inconsistent. :)

    slimboyfat.....I suppose 1969 was given as a terminus because there was an article about aluminum in the August 8, 1969 Awake! (pp. 17-20, titled "Aluminum -- From Curiosity to Versatility") that was altogether positive or neutral about the metal, including its use in the kitchen and with food: "As foil, you may be using it in your kitchen for innumerable purposes or peeling it off your favorite chocolate bar". But it looks like the campaign against aluminum had been dead for quite some time by then.

    Yeah I used the OCR'd copies of the 1950s and 1960s-era magazine; I forgot who it was that did the work and made them available, but you might want to search the forum.

  • blondie

    Here is a 1994 and 1990 connection between illnesses and aluminum:

    *** g94 8/8 pp. 19-20 Guam’s Mystery Diseases ***

    What Are Lytico and Bodig?

    Both lytico and bodig are degenerative diseases of the neuromuscular system. Lytico is known in the medical world as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. When the famous New York Yankee baseball player Lou Gehrig died of this disease in 1941, it became known by his name. Lytico is the local name for ALS.

    ALS affects the motor neurons and nerves in the spinal cord. The muscles of the hands, legs, and throat slowly and steadily become paralyzed. Yet, for a time, ability to feel, as well as reproductive ability and urinary-rectal control, function well. Indeed, a number of children have been born to ALS patients. One woman gave birth to six normal children during the 14 years she suffered with ALS before her death at the age of 43. However, during the advanced stages of ALS, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, or respiratory insufficiency will lead to death. ALS appears most frequently in adults between 35 and 60 years of age. In Guam the youngest victim was a 19-year-old woman.

    Bodig is the local term for atrophy of the brain. Medically called Parkinsonism-dementia (PD), it is described as a combination of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Either the Parkinson’s symptoms (slow movements, muscular rigidity, tremors) or the mental changes (memory loss, disorientation, personality changes) may begin first. At times, the symptoms of both diseases appear together. In advanced stages, the patient develops bedsores, incontinence of urine and feces, osteoporosis, fractures of bones, and anemia and finally succumbs to infections.

    Lytico and bodig are considered to be two diseases. However, research has led some to believe that they are one disease with different expressions of symptoms.

    The Mystery Deepens

    Among major questions being researched are the following: (1) Why is it that 98 percent of the victims of ALS and PD in the Mariana Islands are pure Chamorro and the remaining few are long-term Filipino residents? (2) Why are the only other areas of high incidence located at other places at the same longitude? (3) Why should a number of victims in the Mariana Islands have both ALS and PD, whereas patients elsewhere have only one or the other? (4) How does concentrated aluminum find its way into the central nervous system of these victims? (5) Why is little zinc found in the brain cells where there is a high level of aluminum? Environmental studies in the high incidence areas of the western Pacific showed high levels of aluminum, manganese, and iron but low amounts of calcium, magnesium, and zinc in the soil and water.

    Trying to Unravel the Mystery

    For many years researchers in Guam, Japan, and Canada have tried to unravel the facts about these mystery diseases. In several theories advanced by these research teams, different agents are cited: a rare genetic factor, a slow virus infection, and chronic trace metal poisoning.

    A pharmacologist has claimed that as little as two to three milligrams of aluminum in the brain cells can disrupt the brain’s normal function. Aside from the soil and water, aluminum compounds in large quantities have been added to baking powders, cake and pancake mixes, self-rising flour, frozen dough, some antacids, deodorants, and hemorrhoid preparations. Also contributing are aluminum wraps and cookware, for aluminum is leached out, especially when acidic or alkaline foods are cooked in them.

    Dr. Kwang-Ming Chen, a neurologist and authority on these rare diseases, stated: “Extensive studies conducted by the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Diseases and Stroke (NINCDS) over [the] past 30 years have not quite unravelled the mystery of the remarkably high incidence and the cause of these most devastating and elusive diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) known to mankind.” However, he indicated that chronic trace metal poisoning has far more credence than a rare genetic factor or a slow virus infection.

    *** g90 5/8 p. 8 Pollution—Who Causes It? ***Moreover, Norwegian scientists conclude from their studies that the increased acidity of the water, whether in lakes or soil, dissolves aluminum. This poses a definite health hazard. Scientists have noted “a clear relationship between higher mortality statistics and increasing aluminum concentrations” in the water. Possible links between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease and other ailments of the aged continue to cause alarm.

  • blondie

    I know jws today that will not own or use a microwave either.

    *** g71 9/8 p. 30 Watching the World ***Leaking Microwave Ovens The United States Public Health Service says that about one out of every ten microwave ovens in the country leaks radiation in excess of the amounts specified by the manufacturers themselves. Prolonged exposure to microwave radiation has been linked to burns and eye cataracts in humans, and blood damage and sterility in animals.

    *** g81 5/22 pp. 27-28 How Safe Are Microwave Ovens? ***

    “NO ONE knows whether or not they’re safe over a long period of use,” stated Consumers Union, a product-testing organization, about United States microwave ovens.

    Some microwave scientists own microwave ovens and they feel they present no serious dangers. Others feel that they do. Dr. Milton M. Zaret explains:

    “The microwave-oven-leakage standard set by the Bureau of Radiological Health is approximately one billion times higher than the total, entire microwave spectrum given off by the sun. It is appalling for these ovens to be permitted to leak at all, let alone for the oven advertisements to encourage our children to have fun by learning to cook with them.”

    Certain questions about the safety of microwave ovens have yet to be answered. In the meantime, some things are known that indicate who are most likely to be sensitive to low-level microwave exposure.

    Those at Greatest Risk

    Pregnant women especially have reason for caution. According to a U.S. government agency, the human fetus is “probably the most sensitive segment of the population potentially exposed to microwave radiation.” In Czechoslovakia and Poland, pregnant women are singled out for special protection in the work place for fear of miscarriages and birth defects. In neither of these countries are pregnant women permitted to be exposed to the amounts of microwave radiation that are allowed to leak from ovens sold in Western countries.

    Children represent another sensitive segment of the population. “The possibility that cumulative effects of microwave radiation can occur has been raised through research and cannot be ignored,” says a U.S. Bureau of Radiological Health report. “The potential exists for exposure of young and very young people repetitively as [microwave] ovens come into common usage and effects may result.”

    In addition, some Soviet investigators recommend that people with cardiovascular problems avoid low-level microwave exposures because of the possibility of heart attacks. They also say that the chronically sick and those who have infectious diseases or have recently been weakened by them are more sensitive to the effects of microwave exposure.

    Levels of Exposure

    In the United States the allowable leakage of a microwave oven at the time of sale is 1,000 microwatts per square centimeter at a distance of five centimeters (two inches), and 5,000 microwatts per square centimeter thereafter. However, as one moves away from a microwave oven, the level of exposure drops dramatically. Dr. M. Shore, director of the division of biological effects at the Federal Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Radiological Health, explains:

    “One characteristic of microwaves is that, as you move away from a source, such as an oven, the levels fall off very substantially. If you step back 2 inches (where the five milliwatts [5,000 microwatts] are measured) to 20 inches, or roughly an arm’s length, you’ve moved back by a factor of 10, but the microwave level drops by a factor of 100, or the square of the distance. The net effect is that the exposure level possible to consumers using microwave ovens in the home is probably less than is permissible under the Russian occupational standard.”

    But this may not necessarily be the case. In the Soviet Union the on-the-job maximum allowable exposure to microwaves is 10 microwatts per square centimeter for an eight-hour day. Thus the 5,000 microwatts per square centimeter allowed to leak from ovens in the United States may well expose a person near a leaking oven to more radiation than Soviet standards allow.

    A 1969 survey in the United States showed that a startling one third of the microwave ovens tested leaked in excess of 10,000 microwatts per square centimeter. More recent models evidently are not so prone to leak radiation. But how can a person know how much his oven is leaking? It must be checked with appropriate instruments. So if you have an older oven it would seem to be a good idea to arrange for a qualified serviceman to check it.

    Matter of Concern

    But are ovens that leak the allowable levels of radiation safe? Czech scientists have reported some effects of microwave exposure at power densities as low as 100 microwatts per square centimeter. That is about the level of radiation that an oven leaking 5,000 microwatts per square centimeter at two inches would expose one to at an arm’s length. Further, they are of the opinion, as are Russian scientists, that microwave effects are cumulative. Therefore, a low-level dose the first day, which in itself would not be enough to affect you, is added to a low-level dose the next day and the next, and so on, and eventually effects can be seen.

    The director of the U.S. Bureau of Radiological Health has admitted that the advance of microwave technology in the West has “far exceeded” research into the potential risks. “Although the Bureau has promulgated a performance standard for microwave ovens,” he said, “a great deal of research is required to assess the differences of opinion related to low-level exposures to microwaves.”

    Since no one can say with certainty what levels of exposure to microwaves are safe, it is the course of wisdom to use a microwave oven with great care. Following the accompanying safety tips can be a protection.

    ? Do not attempt to operate a microwave oven with an object caught in the door, a door that does not close firmly, a door that is bent or damaged, or an oven with broken hinges or latches, or a cracked sealing surface.

    ? Wash frequently with water and mild detergent. Never use scouring pads, steel wool or other abrasives.

    ? Don’t insert any objects around the door seal. Even a tiny opening around the door, no more than that caused by a piece of paper towel in the door or a buildup of grease around a door seal, can result in sharply increased leakage.

    ? Never inactivate or interfere with the oven safety interlocks, the devices that turn ovens off automatically as the door is opened (required on all ovens manufactured in the U.S. after 1971). Surveys have shown that maladjustment of oven-door safety interlocks has been a frequent cause of microwave leakage.

    ? Never operate the oven when it is empty.

    ? Stay at least an arm’s length away from the front of an operating oven. Never stand gazing into a working oven, and do not allow a child to do so either.

    ? Do not use microwave ovens for canning.

    Following these tips in no way guarantees safety, since at present it is not known if microwave ovens can be judged entirely free of radiation hazards. However, following these suggestions should help to minimize exposure levels and serious accidents.

    When it comes to microwave ovens, you must use them at your own risk.

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