Monday, 13 December 2010

How Safe is Aluminum Oxide Finish?

Friedrich Klumpp Gmbh is a company that makes the best aluminum oxide finishes for flooring. It is not currently available to the DIY enthusiast wishing to finish their flooring by his or herself. Instead Klumpp aluminum oxide is applied to a wide range of hardwood and bamboo flooring at the Klumpp factory.

The question is whether this type of finish is safe. There are alternatives that use a water based solvent. These appear more environmentally friendly but many people complain that these water based finishes aren’t as hard and don’t protect the flooring as well in high traffic situations.

There is also a growing body of anecdotal evidence on the internet talking about the toxicity of aluminum oxide. Aluminum is a heavy metal and can build up like mercury in the body until it reaches levels that could cause medical problems.

However, the scientific community does not endorse the health risks of aluminum. Most notably research in the 1960s found a link between exposure to aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease. However, since that early trial scientists have been unable to replicate the results of the original 1960s experiments and the speaks for the mainstream when it rejects the connection of aluminum with the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. To quote from

"Public health bodies sharing this conviction include the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Health Canada."

This would make sense because much of the Earth’s crust contains aluminum oxide. It is found in many products including sandpaper. As long as fine particles of aluminum oxide are not inhaled it is hard to see how aluminum oxide can be inimical to human health.

It must be noted, however, that science is an on-going process and that any scientific assertion is only based on current empirical evidence. New tests could result in new understanding about the long term effects of aluminum on human health.

For those people interested in buying a flooring finish containing aluminum oxide try ‘Trek Plus’ by Absolute Coatings or look for finishes made by Fuhr International.