I have this MacBook Pro that I recently bought, I love the fact that it is glass and metal almost more than I like the OS but something recently occurred to me. Is it possible that in my years of sweaty palms resting on this aluminum that I will be rubbing off aluminum and absorbing it in my skin? I heard aluminum toxicity is really dangerous and can lead to Alzheimer's. I suppose I should probably stop using anti-perperants as well but that is a discussion for a different website I am sure.

This also may apply to other aluminum computer hardware that is in contact with our skin for long periods of time, especially with sweat.

I am not sure if sweat could break down the surface like that with it's body salts etc.

Anyone have any insight on this or heard of this sort of thing before?

  • It could be toxic if you eat the case. – fixer1234 Mar 13 '16 at 23:28

Aluminum is the third most common element on Earth. We are exposed to it constantly. The amount of extra Aluminum you would absorb from your laptop is too small to measure.

On exposure to oxygen Aluminum forms an oxide that seals the surface. This is form we are exposed to.

  • 1
    According to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_element#Abundance, aluminum is not in the top ten most common elements in our galaxy. It is, however, the third most common element in the earth's crust. According to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminum, it "is too reactive chemically to occur in nature as a free metal." – ChrisInEdmonton Dec 1 '09 at 18:25
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    Chris is correct about the abundance. I will edit the answer to be more specific. I am resident of Earth and don't get out much into the rest of the universe, maybe someday. Aluminum's reactivity is one of the reasons it is so safe. It is almost impossible for most people to come into contact with anything other then inert oxides or other stable compounds of the metal. – Jim C Dec 1 '09 at 20:38
  • Cooking in aluminum pots and pans with acidic foods is a worry, handling oxidized aluminum computers isn't. All useful ceramic products are made of materials containing kaolin and other aluminum compound clays, in that case, it's the glaze you might have to worry about as lead and other toxic metals can be used for pigment, the ceramic itself while high aluminum content, is inert. – Fiasco Labs Nov 29 '14 at 18:31
  • @JimC The question, to me, is not whether is it too small to measure potentially harmful milligrams of aluminium, but whether aluminium from an everyday device like a MacBook Pro can, with sweat, lead to absorption of harmful aluminium or aluminium compound that could in the long run, cause Alzheimer. However, it's unlikely that anyone on SuperUser has an answer to this question. – Louis CAD Dec 24 '17 at 14:30

The amount you would possibly absorb is very small if any. There are likley more sources that you encounter every day.

Last I read, the link between Alzheimer's and Aluminium was unproven and there were more likely triggers.

I am sure there is a fair bit of info from your local Alzheimer's society.

  • I like your optimism sir :) – CloudMeta Dec 1 '09 at 16:22
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    Aluminum foil is going to be worse for you. – Broam Dec 1 '09 at 16:23
  • @Broam: true, most likely because of the saw that comes packaged with the foil. – sblair Dec 30 '09 at 2:41

Aluminum quickly forms a thin layer of oxidation when exposed to air. Most harmful exposure to aluminum is in the form of water-soluble aluminum ions, or very fine particles such as in manufacturing. I would be more afraid of that aluminum Pepsi can or the pan I prepare my dinner in. (hint) I don't spend much time worrying about that either.


Aluminium is a real concern as it was linked to Alzheimer and the oxide layer gets rubbed off by sweat acidity - so yes you should be worried about extra exposure through your skin. If you want to minimize that, install a palm rest made of neutral plastic and that will minimize that exposure.

  • There is more risk to your health from worrying about aluminum exposure than from aluminum exposure. – fixer1234 Apr 23 '16 at 1:30

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