As Ive studied vaccines over the last 4 years an interesting blurb Id see now and then, is the suspicion that heavy metals like aluminum may play a role in autism and alzheimers. Probably aluminum doesnt "cause" either one, but children or adults with autism or alzheimers may not be able to excrete metals correctly and this can lead to unsafe levels which may have unknown effects on the body and brain. Often VERY high levels of aluminum and mercury are found in hair samples from autistic children and elderly people with alzheimers. Scary.
Its a controversial topic, especially in reference to vaccines (more to come on that!). Aluminum is a common preservative in those vaccines requiring one (only vaccines that are live like the MMR and the chickenpox vaccine dont require preservatives). Because of the controversy involving thimerosal/mercury in vaccines some vaccines now claim to be "preservative free" or "thimerosal free" but this is not usually true. Often the vaccine still doesn contain thimerosal but its listed on the ingredients as something other than a preservative so it can be labeled "preservative free". Or they just replace the thimerosal with aluminum or formaldehyde (eek!) so its "thimerosal free". Sometimes they add it then "wash" it out and residual amounts remain. Regardless, our children (and ourselves as well!) are getting more aluminum exposure than we need. Around the home its an easy thing to fix......
Things that have aluminum: antiperspirants and deodorants, aluminum cookware, drinks from aluminum cans, tap water which often has aluminum compounds added, baking powders, bleached flour, processed cheese, some table salts, some antacids, and dust when aluminum oxide sandpaper.
Many grocery stores, and health food stores carry aluminum-free baking powder and baking soda. They are barely more expensive so that is an easy change if you make muffins, banana bread, cakes, etc.
Bleached flour is the easiest to change. Just get unbleached white flour - and of course the best thing to buy is whole wheat (King Arthur has a new white whole wheat, from a more mild tasting white wheat berry that is great!)
Ive already posted healthier options for deodorant and we all know that soda is absolutely horrible for you - its water with chemicals, dye and aspartme (diet soda) which is linked to cancer.
Another way to avoid aluminum: dont use aluminum foil, and particularly dont cook with it. This is something I havent changed yet, Ive used it so long! Parchment paper is a better alternative for cooking ... I need to pick some up!
Baby steps and you'll create a healthier home before you know it!