Aluminum is a soft, lightweight metal with an appearance ranging from silvery to dull gray, depending on the surface roughness. Data indicate that aluminum contaminates much of the raw material used to manufacture solutions used for intravenous nutritional support of hospitalized and ambulatory patients, and that pharmaceutical manufacturers have only recently obtained the technology necessary to detect aluminum contamination of their products. As a result, aluminum bypassed normal barriers and entered the blood, accumulating in bone, the liver, and the central nervous system with toxic consequences. Now that the FDA has finally issued a rule governing aluminum contamination in these solutions, manufacturers will need to develop methods to minimize such contamination. Scientists should also realize that when the data they obtain indicate a serious problem in the manufacturing sector, they should be sure that the problem is properly addressed. Physiologically, this metal/element exists as an ion in the body. Aluminum acetate is an astringent. An astringent is a chemical that tends to shrink or constrict body tissues, usually locally after topical medicinal application. The shrinkage or constriction is through the osmotic flow of water (or other fluids) away from the area where the astringent was applied. Astringent medicines cause shrinkage of mucous membranes or exposed tissues and are often used internally to check discharge of blood serum or mucous secretions. This can happen with a sore throat, hemorrhages, diarrhea, or with peptic ulcers. Externally applied astringents, which cause mild coagulation of skin proteins, dry, harden, and protect the skin. Acne sufferers are often advised to use astringents if they have oily skin. Astringents also help heal stretch marks and other scars. Mild astringent solutions are used in the relief of such minor skin irritations as those resulting from superficial cuts, allergies, insect bites, or fungal infections such as athlete's foot.