aluminium whistles dangerous?

aluminium whistles dangerous?

I am aware that aluminium/aluminum (don’t know how to write it in english) can be a dangerous material in many situations, for instance using aluminium pots for cooking. It can cause many disorders such as Alzeimer. It can be absorved by ingestion but also through the skin, I read.

Many of the high end whistles are made from aluminium. Some are just the body and have plastic mouthpiece but others are even fully in aluminium. Aren’t these whistles potentially dangerous? I am asking because I am thinking of actually buying one but I don’t want to grow old to having Alzeimer or anything like that… My question branches into two:

1- Isn’t it dangerous to have our mouth frequently in contact with an aluminium whistle?

2- Even with a plastic mouthpiece, isn’t it dangerous to have our fingers (under heat, moisture, etc) in such frequent contact with aluminium body whistles, given that aluminium can also be absorved through the skin?

There are many places talking about aluminium dangers, for example I found these on the internet (don’t know if they are the most apropriate):

http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/health/flouridedangers.html

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art7739.asp

Cesar Pimentel

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Forgot to say that the whistle I am thinking of buying is said to be in aluminium "brushed but not coated"… don’t know if this is relevant…

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Cesar,

Last I heard, I thought Alzheimer researchers had pulled away from the aluminum scare; not to say there aren’t other health concerns here. On the one hand, pretty much every restaurant pan (in the US anyway) is made from heavy, mill finsh, aluminum; no coating. So you’d think we’d see a lot more ill-effects. On the other hand, why take the chance? If it concerns you, it’s not something you want to be worrying about every time you play. The whistler in my session plays some beautiful brass whistles.

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Copper and Water together forms a toxic chemical, there are whistles made from copper and no one has ever died from one. The amount of compound that is ingested from a Whistle mouth piece is unlikely to be dangerous in such a small amount. Of course, if it worries you, why get it? There are great whistles made from other materials.

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Buy a generation brass. Cheap, reliable, sound good, tunable if you break the glue seal on the fipple. Don’t worry already!

Max

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i’ve been drinking from aluminum cans my whole life. they must be safe.

love how the brits say ‘aluminium.’ it sounds way cooler.

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Aluminium oxidises in contact with air - just as iron does - it "rusts". The difference is that with iron its rust (iron oxide) falls off, revealing fresh iron to be oxidised and the metal structure progressively weakens; but with aluminium its "rust" (aluminium oxide) stays stuck firmly to the underlying metal and protects it from further contact with the air and anything else. That’s why if you polish aluminium it quickly becomes dull again because a new protective oxide coating forms on the polished surface.
If there’s any vestige of truth in the old story that normal contact with aluminium could cause Alzheimer’s then I’m afraid there’s no hope for the fiddle players who have been using aluminium-wound strings for decades 🙂
You could always try a silver-plated whistle. Silver is a bactericide, which is one reason why silver cutlery is used in the best circles (as my great-uncle’s butler once told me - ahem).
BTW, the spelling depends on the country you live in. In the UK it’s "aluminium"; in the USA it’s "aluminum". Both are correct.

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If you whack someone on the head with an aluminum low D, they can be quite dangerous.

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I should be able to furnish you with more data shortly but off the top of my head I recall that although Alzheimer’s plaques and tangles (microscopic lesions which are diagnostic hallmarks of AD) may contain high concentrations of Al, it does not of necessity mean the patients had necessarily imbibed huge quantities of Al, more that Alhad been deposited in the lesions as part of the disease process.

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Cesar, there is a useful document here:
http://www.alzheimers.org.au/content.cfm?infopageid=680#alu
Click on the ‘update sheet’ titled ‘Aluminium and Alzheimer’s Disease.
The conclusion reported here is that the link between aluminium and Alzheimer’s is neither proven nor disproven so far. BUT, aluminium is widespread in our environment, while very few people develop Alzheimer’s Disease, so the risk of a slightly higher exposure to aluminium posed by an aluminium whistle is probably very small, dare I say so small as to be non-existent.

However, if you are still worried, I am prepared to offer myself as a guinea pig. I will gladly play your high-end aluminium whistle for the next 20 years, after which you can decide whether or not it’s safe.

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I seem to remember that aluminium pans are only dangerous if you frequently boil up acidic things like rhubarb, so I think if you avoid using your whistle to stir stewed rhubarb you’ll be OK. ("seem to remember" - yes, memory is going a bit - lots of aluminium pots plus rhubarb when I was a kid!)

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sorry can you repeat that please

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Lazyhounds assesment is spot on. Alluminium oxide is the key. It’s very tough and durable stuff, totally impervious to liquid H2O

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"there are whistles made from copper and no one has ever died from one"

I doubt if anyone has ever managed to swallow one whole.

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Thanks a lot for the info everybody!

I’m not giving you my whistle, GraemeO, nice try! :D

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Guy goes to the doctor who says ‘I have some good news and some bad news - what do you want to hear first’

‘Bad news please’

‘You have terminal cancer says the doc’

‘Jaysus - and what’s the god news?’

‘You have alzheimers as well - so you can go home and forget about it’ 🙂

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Interesting topic. I’m actually studying a a subject of toxicology in Environmental Protection. I recommend you to not be worried about the chemical compounds that enter every days in our body. You’d be scared. Lead from tap water, metals from pots, pans, piepes, cadmium from vegetals (specially smokers) -a strong carcinogen-, pesticides from everything we eat, metals and organic compounds from paints, mercury in fish…
Really, I wouldn’t mind about a whistle. Although aluminium dioxide can disociate and be free under acidic conditions (our skin contact, for example), is a cation and cannot be absorbed through the skin. If you want, wash your hands after play, but I’m sure that the most part of whistle players won’t die by a "musical contamination" (Flook CD’s and cardiac afections are discarded in the former affirmation).

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I am an engineer who has been involved in the housing construction related toxics some of which Miguel refers to. I also play one of those "expensive" Michael Burke cast aluminum whistles ( as well as many others which herself complains lay about the house)

I think the aluminum pan controversy has more to do with the fact that aluminum pans are typically coated with Teflon has recieved great scrutinay as to its health effects. Aluminum is one that most of my sources have indicated is a very small issue.

As to the whistle construction, the good ones have a plastic mouthpiece. My howard aluinum low whistle has a completely plastic fipple assembly because the tuning is adjustable.

Personally I don’t see the aluminum as that much of an issue.

Whiat I find personally ironic is paying 130 to 300 euro ($150 to $400) for something called a ‘penny whistle’. Besides as wonderful as my Burke sound (great whistle for those looking for clear and precise tones) I enjoy picking up the cheap ones and finding one that has fantastic, traditional sound. If they are junky, whay have you lost.

I picked up a red enameled Feadog at the gift shop of Croagh Patrick last summer. Spectacular sound. And since I didn’t brin any of my whistles, I was able to sit on a bluff 2/3rds up the climb in an awesome cloud bank and play (much to my daughter’s embarassment!

I would worry more about potential lead content in the Feadog’s enamel than traces of aluminum.

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KML

I refrained from mentioning that. I was getting a bit long winded already.

My wife gets stressed if I defrost something in a plastic bag because she claims the plastic breaks down and infuses the carcinogens into defrosted food.

I won’t have problem from Generations. I’ve always found them somewhat squeeky and not having a good clean high end. That’s actually why I went aluminum. It is consistent. In the US the generations we seem to get seem to be made for the under 12 junior high school music program set.

If you put up with the constant hunt for the ‘Perfect Whistle’ the cheapies are a thing to behold when you find the right one…and you can buy alot of them for the price of the high end aluminums.

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Where else can you say you are playing Heavy Metal ITM ?

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Is that why low whistlers get an awful pasting because they open their mouth’s in it goes and they suddenly get a artists block and cant start or finish a tune properly.

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We live in a society of semi informed hypochondriacs. Everything has some from of bactericide in it now, we are expected to sterilised everything.

They also call dying at 80 a premature death. My question is; whats the appropriate time to die?.

The global society is terrified of sickeness, germs, old age and dying.

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and it is too early in the morning for me hence the idiot typos

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Joze

After playing with some prima donna guitar players who play their tastes which may not coincide with an audiences, as well as classical with a bunch of people playing very serious, ‘art’ music that causes most listeners to study the inside of their eyelids, I already have had the experience of dying…..figuratively speaking 😉