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Aluminum Oxide

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is it?

Aluminum oxide, also known as alumina, is a white, crystalline powder, with a chemical formula of Al2O3. Aluminum oxide occurs in nature as various minerals such as bauxite or corundum. Aluminum oxide has many uses in pharmaceutical and industrial manufacturing processes. It is used as an adsorbent, desiccating agent, and catalyst, and in the manufacture of dental cements. It is also available in consumer products; for example as an abrasive in toothpaste, as a dispersing agent food additive, and for uses in hemodialysis.

Aluminum oxide is not classified as a human carcinogen, but workers chronically exposed to aluminum-containing dust or particles have developed severe pulmonary reactions including fibrosis, emphysema and pneumothorax. Inhalation effects of short-term exposure may cause eye and upper respiratory tract irritation. Long-term inhalational effects of long-term exposure may affect the central nervous system[1][2]

[1] [1]International Program on Chemical Safety/Commission of the European Communities; International Chemical Safety Card on Aluminum oxide (October 2000). Available from, as of May 20, 2010: Accessed March 19, 2012

[2] [2]Gosselin, R.E., R.P. Smith, H.C. Hodge. Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products. 5th ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1984., p. II-128

Further information

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