The Watchtower history is replete with examples of not only erroneous theological positions such as wrongly predicting the time of the end, but also advocating numerous quack medical nostrums. Part of the reason for their involvement in quack scams was due to the tendency of certain high level Watchtower officials to reject anything that was orthodox--orthodox religion, orthodox science, and orthodox medicine. Unfortunately, the Watchtower is still today stuck in a quagmire of foolish beliefs which they have not yet been unable to transcend. Their almost half-century crusade against aluminum is an excellent example of their involvement in supporting a conclusion which was almost universally regarded as fringe even during the height of their crusade. They taught that aluminum cooking utensils caused scores of diseases, and were "a curse to humanity and their manufacture and use should be forbidden by law" (Force 1932 p. 35). Today their former stand is seen as extremely foolish even by the Watchtower themselves.
A great deal of harm to the individual can result when generally uninformed persons uncritically accept naive conclusions. But when these same people head an organization with hundreds of thousands of followers, most of whom accept what the organization says as the word of God (or at least quasi-inspired) a travesty can result. Few people probably died because of the Watchtower aluminum teaching, but multi-thousands have lost their lives because of the Watchtower teaching on blood, vaccinations and their advocating scores of pseudo medical cures (Reed 1996).
The history of the Watchtower opposition to aluminum, though, eloquently demonstrates much about the Watchtower organization as well as the need to be constrained by the limits of one's knowledge. These are the same constraints that all of us possess unless we are inspired by God.
The Problem of Expertise
A key to success is knowing what one can speak authoritatively about and knowing where one's limits of knowledge and expertise are. All of us have opinions which lie outside of our area of expertise. Most intelligent people are cognizant of this fact and therefore usually avoid pontificating on areas they know little about. Lack of knowledge about one's limitations is especially dangerous when editors of a religious magazine which is regarded by its followers as the publishing arm of God's organization express irresponsible views as fact, and excommunicate those individuals who do not accept and live by its pronouncements. Reading about the Watchtower teaching on aluminum today forces one to question the credibility and even the rationality of the editors and writers of The Golden Age magazine. Account after account was printed about people who used aluminum pots and pans and soon thereafter developed all kinds of maladies and even died. When these people stopped using aluminum and instead used enamel cookware, they claimed their health miraculously improved and they never felt better in their lives. It is appropriate to teach that, although no clear evidence condemns aluminum's use, this does not prove it is fully safe, and it may be prudent to avoid products that contain it.
This is quite different then claiming that cooking in aluminum cookware produces numerous dangerous drugs that will cause irreversible harm as the Watchtower did. The Watchtower even inferred that aluminum cookware can influence some persons to become addicted to drugs including narcotics. The writings of Toledo dentist Charles Betts (1879-1959) who self-published his first booklet on the topic in 1926 was the basis of the tragic story of the Watchtower's over three decades long crusade against aluminum. The topic was no small concern: the Watchtower Society published a whopping over 130 articles about aluminum from 1925 to 1969. Betts started practicing dentistry at the turn of the century and evidently was grandfathered in the profession (I could find no evidence of his attending dental school or even college). And according to Dr. George D. Beal of the University of Pittsburgh, Betts was carrying on a lone crusade:
Aluminum is at the present time the most widely used constructional material for cooking utensils. During the time that it has been in use, it seems to us that the harmful nature of this metal would have become increasingly apparent to food and medical specialists. Strange to say, the only two who have found any existence of such a condition are a dentist in Toledo and an advertising physician in Chicago who has been connected with many so-called 'health institutes.' (quoted in Hopkins 1929 p. 247)
The Golden Age said after Dr. Betts made his great life saving discovery that The Golden Age was the first magazine to give "wide publicity to this matter" (Sept. 12 1934 p. 771). Betts was a member of an organization that the Watchtower teaches is a false religion, the First Presbyterian Church in Maumee, OH. (Toledo Blade, Dec. 21, 1969 p.14)
Typical Case Histories
A typical case is a Golden Age article that quoted a Cleveland Plain Dealer story about a three and a seven year old who died from a "mysterious poisoning," and a third child also became ill. The Golden Age then wrote to the father and learned that this happened shortly after they ate beef and cabbage boiled in an aluminum kettle. The Watchtower then made the totally unwarranted conclusion that the cause of the poisoning was the aluminum cookery, asking "how many fathers and mothers [will be] made ill; how many babies slain before the government takes a hand in this thing and prevent this unnecessary slaughter" (Woodworth 1929: 275).
The official cause of death was not given and the actual cause could be due to any number of things from botulism to rancid food--the family was extremely poor, and quite possibly the cause was unsafe food. Concluding that an aluminum kettle was the problem was wholly unwarranted--if the family became ill the first time it was used, one might be more inclined to suspect aluminum cookware. Conversely, they had probably been using this cookware for years and it evidently never caused them any problems before. From the information given, aluminum was likely not the cause, yet the Watchtower irresponsibly titled this article "two more aluminum sacrifices."
Another example was provided by Whibley (1928:145) who congratulated the Golden Age on the splendid work it was doing to help "educate the public upon the dangers to health of aluminum" on a subject that was too vital to be ignored. He claimed that he was severely poisoned with "almost fatal results and is now a complete physical wreck" because of using aluminum cookware. No indication is given as to how he knew that his malady was caused by aluminum cookware nor how the aluminum caused the illness he claimed it did.
Hanson (1928) relates he used aluminum cookware for many years--then he read a Golden Age article on this topic. He had suffered from "bilious attacks" and would "almost go blind" because a "ice-like film would form before my eyes...three or four times a day." The author then claims "seven days after I got new [non-aluminum] cooking pots the blindness gradually disappeared and in a month it was gone" and he has felt great since. Hansen's illness sounds like a migraine headache, although it could have been an allergy--possibly even to aluminum. Allergies to a wide variety of common house-hold chemicals are not uncommon, but the article says little about what is harmful to the general public.
The Watchtower claimed that scores of symptoms and illnesses were caused by aluminum, including head pain, gas, heart and lung cancer, brown spots, stomach trouble, ulcers, cerebrospinal meningitis, anaphylactic shock, vomiting, dizziness, headache, heart attacks (even by children) blindness, kidney trouble, sores, tumors, tonsillitis, carbuncles, boils, paralysis, fainting spells, exhaustion, skin eruptions, asthma, hay fever, insanity, anemia, and "all manner of unhealth" (White 1931 p. 374; Woodworth 1935 p. 143; Maereker 1931 p. 243; Bowers 1931 p. 558; Woodworth 1932 p. 537; Archer 1932 p. 126-127; Woodworth 1934 p. 771-779, 803-811, and 1936 p. 304).
An excellent example of the wild claims that were made on this topic was an item under the subheading "Aluminum Poisoning in Texas" which claimed that beans cooked in aluminum cookware were left to stand in the aluminum vessel "until thoroughly poisoned." As a result, aluminum poisoning caused the death "of a Crowell, Texas father, his five-year-old daughter, and the serious illness of five others. The only one in the family not poisoned was a two-year old baby that went to bed supperless." The author concludes "If you want to die, keep on eating food cooked in aluminum" (Woodworth 1928 p. 40).
Evidently the fulminations against aluminum by The Golden Age were not enough to scare some people. Higgins (1928: 115) writes that she and her husband had bowel and stomach pains which were rapidly growing worse. Everything she tried failed until finally one day she gave her dog milk that stood in an aluminum kettle over night--and the smart dog refused to drink it. She then stated, "That settled it, and I transferred my lot of aluminum...to the junk pile." (1928: 115) Now that they don't use aluminum cookware, their food soon began to digest, their pains left and they "both have very good health."
Norderum (1928: 81) stated that after reading The Golden Age articles about aluminum, she discarded their aluminum cookware "with very marked improvement in health. Whereas distress was [formerly] present after every meal, now it is only rarely felt and then generally after a meal away from home where aluminum is used for cooking purposes." (p.81) She then relates the case of a neighbor who discarded his cookware and is now "improving in health right along." A third case she relates involves a neighbor lady who discarded her aluminum pots and pans, and within a few weeks her severe pain has "left and has not returned."
Winder (1929:437) claimed that as soon as she quit using aluminum cookware and aluminum baking powder her health soon improved enormously. Before this she claims she suffered from cancer, frequent gall bladder trouble, indigestion, and bad colds. All of these problems have miraculously cleared up and she concludes, "I firmly believe that aluminum poison was the cause of the cancer as well as of the other diseases mentioned." This article was printed immediately before an article which lambasted the medical claims made for vaccinations.
In another case a person who suffered from stomach ulcers abstained from anything that touched aluminum--and soon got better (Stuart 1929: 564). Betts argued that "from extensive reports and observations made by the writer, ulcers of the stomach" are caused by aluminum compounds from cooking and other sources (Betts 1930 p. 527-528). We now know that most stomach ulcers are caused by a bacteria, Helicobacter pylori. One case even related that when a Golden Age reader's kittens were given milk in aluminum containers--after humorously stating "that will kill them for sure"-- sure enough, they soon became sick and died. This author had the humility to admit "I wish I were chemist enough to have told just what did kill them." Nonetheless, she concludes that the aluminum was the culprit (Stuart 1929: 564). Foote relates he fed 100 baby chicks from food made in aluminum containers and in only a few days 96 died (1930 p. 650).
Peterson claims that aluminum is systematically poisoning humanity but, fortunately, The Golden Age, "the best little magazine in the world today" is exposing "this terrible crime against the health of the world" (Peterson 1930 p. 542). Another account by Scott (1929: 503) and S.R. Love (1930 p. 14) provides numerous more examples of the many people who have discarded aluminum cooking ware after reading The Golden Age and the health of one and all improved miraculously. If all this was true, it would seem that half of the population would soon be dead or sick because "aluminum ware is used in a great majority of American homes." (Betts 1928 p. 359). Why everyone doesn't get sick is explained by arguing that those "most susceptible to aluminum poisoning" regularly use cathartics (laxatives) (Betts 1928 p. 360). The solution would seem to be to stop using medical laxatives--the advise common today, and often the source of trouble. Bethel staffer Mr. Barber argued that even "persons possessing a strong digestive apparatus and great power of resistance to poisons...sooner or later" become ill from ingesting aluminum (1935 p. 341).
Yet another account by an L.C. Ross (1929: 431) tells about a cook who for years knew that "there was something radically wrong with aluminum cooking ware." As a result of using aluminum cooking ware, he claims that he suffered from "acute aluminum poisoning" and the "best doctors in San Francisco with all the latest inventions and X-rays, test meals, dark rooms, and every test known to the medical profession, could not tell me what was the matter with my stomach and bowels." The doctors diagnosed his problem, he says, as a "possible ulcer and some other possible things I could not understand." Ross concludes that even though he couldn't understand the diagnosis, he knew the problem--being fed "from a kitchen filled with aluminum ware."
One wonders how he knows he was recovering from acute aluminum poisoning--a diagnosis not given by his doctor. He also adds parenthetically that he also had cancer and concludes "aluminum is a direct cause of three-fourths of the stomach trouble in the world today, and probably all of the cancer trouble" (1929: 431). From our vantage point today, one wonders why an editor could publish such appalling foolishness which is firmly in the irresponsible category. The reason may be because the writer, who admits "I am not very smart in the lore of writing," has "sense enough to understand that God has a remnant now on the earth." Presumably Ross is one of these 144,000 remnant who is now in heaven judging modern Jehovah's Witnesses. No doubt he would not judge them too favorably if his comments above are any indication of his thinking process.
An Assessment of these Case Histories
Since the Watchtower based their conclusions primarily on the case histories The Golden Age regularly featured for several decades an evaluation of them is critical. An example of the many cases of alleged aluminum poisoning includes an article by Sherwood (1928: 397). She relates when her current issue of Golden Age arrived, she was in bed with "intestinal poisoning." In this new issue was an article about aluminum which she showed to her doctor who she claimed advised her to "abandon all aluminum for the present." Nothing is said as to if this cured her, but the next story, Aluminum Poisoning at Punxsutawney, (a city in Pennsylvania) reviewed a case of "ptomaine (pronounced to main) poisoning" that occurred at a chicken supper at the local Baptist church. Every one of the 200 people who ate their supper there became ill.
This was a result, The Golden Age writer claimed, of leaving gravy in an aluminum container too long before bringing it to the church. The source of The Golden Age's information was a newspaper account about which The Golden Age comments was "without a doubt, a perfectly accurate statement of what occurred." How The Golden Age knew the accuracy of the story is not stated. This article then reviewed part of the long list of the Watchtower's litany of alleged evils in society including big business. Later newspaper accounts about the poisoning event no longer blamed aluminum, and the Watchtower writer argued without evidence that the article was rewritten due to pressure from "dealers in aluminum ware" or "owners of aluminum stock." In the rewrite, the word aluminum was changed to "metal," adding "the sickness was not due to metal poisoning, but rather from a chicken that had been dead too long and had gotten mixed with the good ones presented to the Baptist ladies for their supper." The Watchtower then claimed
the word "aluminum" had been whitewashed into the word "metal" and those grand and useful custodians of public health, "three responsible physicians," always to be had in a case like this, "after an investigation" had come forth in the "unanimous opinion" that each of the two hundred victims had, in some mysterious manner, managed to get hold of a piece of the same chicken, so dead that it was rotten, that in some other mysterious manner had found its way among the good ones.
Those knowledgeable about public health recognize how common food poisoning from chicken is--even the kitchen counter where raw chicken is cut must be carefully wiped clean to prevent bacteria from being spread to other food. Chicken is actually the major cause of food poisoning even today, and eggs are the second most common cause. Ptomaine is a basic substance derived from putrefying tissues, and therefore the problem could not have been caused by aluminum but could only be caused by rotting food such as chicken. Actually ptomaine itself is not injurious to the digestive system because the body normally converts the poison into harmless substances.
The problem is high levels of bacteria which accumulate on food as it ages, and these bacteria produce the poisons which cause illness. For a case of 60 persons "poisoned" see Golden Age Oct. 29, 1930 p. 87 and for a case involving 75 persons poisoned by some new aluminum utensils at a Presbyterian Church dinner see I.E.W., 1928 p.302. The Golden Age author tried to have the local paper print a story about this "mass poisoning" but the editors allegedly refused. The Golden Age concluded this refusal was because the "rich aluminum industry" may take offense.
Conclusions and assumptions are often uncritically thrown about in articles such as those quoted above, and no data or scientific studies or even responsible informed discussions were ever cited on the issue. We now know that colds are caused by a virus and anemia in women is usually brought on by iron deficiency. Many Golden Age writers claimed they were cured by trashing aluminum cooking ware but how they were cured and the evidence do not merit much discussion. The focus is on aluminum as the cause of virtually every ailment that can afflict humans: when readers dumped their aluminum kitchen utensils, thanks to the advise of the "valuable paper" The Golden Age, their problems, one and all, were soon gone. Most of the cases of poisoning involved letting the food sit unrefrigerated for long periods of time, and often involve, chicken, eggs in potato salad and other foods which spoil easily. The aluminum had nothing to do with most which seemed to be simple food poisoning.
If the use of aluminum cookware caused all the dire problems that the Watchtower claimed, it would be easy to determine if this was the case. All that is necessary is to select a random sample of 100 persons, then randomly divide the sample in half and for half cook all their meals in porcelain cookware and the other half in aluminum. Monitoring their health progress for several weeks or months can determine if illness levels in the two groups are significantly different. Neither the subjects or the doctors who examine them can know which group each person is in. Since the groups were originally randomly divided to assure that positive and negative health factors were equal in both groups, any differences would likely be due to aluminum poisoning. Fraser (1929 p.52) claims he tried this experiment with animals and all of those fed from aluminum containers soon died, but those fed from granite dishes just fine.
Watchtower writer Schmidt claims the symptoms are clear and unequivocal:
This poison must be excreted from the body by bowels or kidneys; and thus, in cleaning up the body, you find it last in anus and urethra and sometimes in prostate. If the bowels act fully and completely and from two to three times a day, as they should, then this poison can pass through the body without much of bad effects. But if the bowels are sluggish, then you get a loading up and damming back, until every organ in the body is poisoned and it finally breaks out though ulcers, etc. An ulcer is nothing but the effort of the body to throw off chronic excess poison at that point. That same thing is true in cancer. Here you always find, according to these tests, natrium muriate and aluminum nitrate being excreted, and potassium nitrate present. (1929 p.436)
Almost every statement in this article is wrong, including the cause of ulcers. Some may argue that these articles, some printed from fifty to seventy years ago, should not be used to discredit the Watchtower today. A study of this time period is an excellent method to assess the Watchtower because we have the benefit of the proof of history which has eloquently shown the Watchtower to be unequivocally wrong. Many of the same criticisms could be leveled today against the Watchtower--especially their tragic stand on blood transfusions. Their arguments were effective only for those who did not understand the medical issues involved and were under the Watchtower yolk.
The Watchtower no doubt will in the future be embarrassed by their current blood transfusion stand and will regard their blood law as foolish as was their former position on aluminum. The aluminum issue is especially useful because even the Watchtower fully agrees with the conclusion that their crusade against aluminum was ignorant, although they excuse it today as a teaching promulgated at a time when the "light was less bright." The light, though, on this topic was bright for most everybody else, why was it so dim for the Watchtower?
These articles and case histories were obviously written by people who were extremely naive and had little or no training in medicine and science. Some were barely literate, and most made wild, unsubstantiated claims of serious diseases cured in which the diagnosis was likely wrong. One can feel sorry for these people who were misled by The Golden Age, and hardly blame these likely sincere persons who were only endeavoring to live a satisfactory life. On the other hand, one can and should blame The Golden Age for publishing such foolishness and lending authority to these irresponsible claims. This is not to say that avoidance of aluminum may not be beneficial, but that aluminum became the super bad guy and many other clear proven health problems were ignored or barely mentioned.
Aluminum as the Super Bad Guy
The Golden Age printed scores of articles that made appalling claims such as:
from eighty to ninety percent of all my patients, both in acute and chronic cases, show aluminum poisoning in one or more places in the body. Thus, after syphilis ... [aluminum] is the most common source of toxemia (Schmidt 1929 p. 436 emphasis mine).
Not only aluminum pots and pans, but many aluminum products were condemned. Even use of alucol (aluminum hydroxide) which was then used as a filler for some medicines, was condemned (Woodworth 1928: 16; Valiente 1930 p. 50). Betts even claims "organic aluminum" is not only a poison but has a paralytic effect, and he then gives a case history in which two children died from aluminum phosphate (1929 p. 720). This article eloquently shows Bett's and the Watchtower's ignorance--aluminum phosphate (AlPO4) is not an organic but an inorganic compound! Use of Aluminum sulfate to purify water was also condemned. Betts (1928: 16) suggest that to test if aluminum purifiers were used, a person could fill a clean drinking glass with city water, let it evaporate, and repeat several times. If a film accumulates on the glass, the writer concludes that this indicates the presence of enough poisonous aluminum sulfate "to be a real menace to the human body." It could also indicate hard water, a possibility Betts ignores.
The writer not only condemns the use of aluminum sulfate to purify water, but also chlorine, concluding "this may be a good thing for the manufactures of these products, but what about the effects upon human health?" No discussion is included as to how one should purify water or even if one should. Presumably, the author believes that the common purification process is more dangerous to health than the pathogenic bacteria in the water. In 1953 Betts produced another self-published book warning of the dangers of Fluoridation of water--an interesting position for a dentist given the clear evidence of the major role Fluoridation plays in preventing cavities! Of course, well water is ideal, but few cities are blessed with sufficient amounts.
Betts concludes aluminum is a problem because the human body tends to retain or "aggregate" these inorganic "poisons and irritants." Consequently, their accumulations "if unabated...produce a fine soil for the development of cancer" and that "the striking increase on the incidence of calculi (gall stones, kidney stones, gravel, etc.) as well as of cancer, doubtless bears close relation to this causation" (1928 p.16). Again, no scientific evidence is presented for these irresponsible claims. Even the "irritation" theory of cancer causation referred to by Betts has now been thoroughly refuted.
The Watchtower writers have historically touted numerous quack cancer cures, including avoiding all aluminum. A typical case history is about a man afflicted with cancer
for several years...[and] X-ray treatments seemed only to aggravate the [cancer]. . .Two of them proved pretty serious and called for operations, causing scars and much suffering. . . Meantime I had been reading in The Golden Age of the wonderful cures through the discarding of aluminum cooking utensils. As my husband is a great coffee drinker, among the first to go was the percolator. About two months later, one evening as he sat reading, he happened to brush his ear with his hand and off dropped the cancer on the floor. Can you imagine that? It left the ear as smooth as ever, and no sign of any since; and I am sure it is not imagination that we are all better in every way. . . No more aluminum in this house, and we say, Hurrah for The Golden Age and its good news! and give it a boost whenever we can.
Betts, in an article (1928 p. 115) claims that cancer is caused by chemical poisons and not by "what is known as virus." This conclusion was, the Watchtower claims, supported by a Dr. Murphy "the most prominent medical authority in the world, in his address before the Cancer Congress." The Golden Age then made the wild claim that this pronouncement by Dr. Murphy "has caused the greatest furor in the medical world ever known to man." Betts (1928 p.115) also concludes that "the greatest medical men in the country are beginning to see the light, but they do not all get to it at the same time, and hence we will occasionally find in the papers a dispatch like [one]... from Sacramento, which is chiefly valuable as displaying the unprogressive mind of those disposed to linger in the protecting shadows of things that were instead of forging ahead to better days."
The fact is, Murphy is wrong. It is now known that viruses can cause cancer, and good evidence exists as to the specific mechanism that viruses use. Most interesting is Betts jump of logic--from the statement that cancer is caused by chemical poisons (which is well documented, and these chemicals are called carcinogens) to specifically concluding that it is caused by aluminum, a conclusion which has never been empirically supported. Betts even quotes but ignores in this article a chemistry professor who concludes that aluminum doesn't cause cancer and housewives need have no fear of using aluminum cooking utensils. The Golden Age further concluded that:
As a result of the publication of wholesome truth on the subject, there are fewer people now purchasing aluminum cooking utensils than heretofore. There is also a pronounced drop in the cancer death rate. Much aluminum used: many cancers. Less aluminum used: fewer cancers (1930 p. 65; see also Anderson 1933 p. 368).
One wonders where Betts obtained the wisdom to conclude almost the entire medical world was wrong and he alone was correct about so many things. He never once reviewed in The Golden Age any credible research or studies and amazingly admits that "there is no scientific data from laboratory work to warrant" the conclusion that Aluminum causes cancer, gastric or other diseases (Betts 1928 p.XV). The closest which I have been able to find related to empirical evidence for the Watchtower's position was a study done by Gephart who analyzed six samples of blood taken from humans, all of which ingested aluminum from baking powder (Woodworth 1928 p.145).
The researcher found 1 to 4 parts per million aluminum in 5 out of the 6 of the blood samples. The Watchtower then incorrectly inferred from this finding that the aluminum level found causes a problem--but ironically The Golden Age had to reprint a retraction from Dr. Gephart, namely that he actually found, contrary to The Golden Age assertion, that aluminum at this concentration is not poisonous (Woodworth 1928: 145 see also Betts 1928 p. 710-711).
In response to this, The Golden Age argues that Dr. Gephart's "retraction" is wrong because it could not be true "that aluminum is one of the foreign substances that can float around in a man's blood without doing him any harm...[and] could thus be carried to heart and brain and everywhere else over the body without making it necessary to ring up the undertaker." They then infer that Dr. Gephart is "being frightened by the aluminum trust" (p. 145). Of course, all of the food, vitamins and minerals that one ingests are "foreign substances"--and many foreign substances flow in the blood stream without problems. Further, 1 to 4 parts per million is a minute amount for a harmless substance--and may not even cause a problem for some dangerous substances.
In a candid article as to why the Watchtower Society took up the aluminum crusade, The Golden Age editor C. J Woodworth stated:
As to why we published the articles by Dr. Betts ...a vast amount of money has been spent in this country in recent years in the advertising of aluminum cooking utensils. Like everybody else, the editor...believed these advertisements; purchased aluminum ware, and used it exclusively in his home for years. Conceding that if it is good to cook in it would also be good to use as a table-top, he purchased for his kitchen table a sheet of beautiful new aluminum, bent it to fit the table-top and rather proudly invited his wife to use it... She did so, and when she had rolled out the crust for a pie ( the editor admits that nobody should eat pie, but most Americans do,) ... that pie crust was as gray as your hat, and was thrown out because we would not eat it...This is an experiment that you can try yourself with very little difficulty and not much expense; and obviously, if a sheet of pure aluminum is not a fit thing to use as a mixing board, it is not a fit thing to cook food in...Since we published the article by Dr. Betts and Dr. Held we have begun to receive letters from our subscribers which would make us wonder how this matter could have remained covered so long. The only possible explanation we can give is the love of money and the fear of offending those who have it and who want more of it (Quoted in Betts 1928 p.188-189)
This response shows an appalling level of naivete for a man that claims to be the mouth peice of God's organization. No other reason than discoloration of pie crust is given: Woodworth did not even claim that the aluminum cooking utensils his family evidently used for some time made them sick.
What Did the Scientific Research Say?
The conclusions of the scientific research on aluminum as summarized by Hopkins are as follows:
...there is no foundation for the belief that the use of aluminum cooking utensils is injurious [or]...for the absurd statement that aluminum or any other kind of cooking utensil has anything to do with the causation of cancer. The American Medical Association, the United States Public Health Service the London Lancet have all issued statements, or published articles which give aluminum a clear bill of health. So once and for all let us put away this bogey which should never have been discussed at all by intelligent people. Whatever or whoever may be back of the propaganda, the facts remain that aluminum has stood the test of time and today is in more universal use in hospitals and institutions than any other metal...the leading British medical journal, made experiments on the subject and stated editorially that this metal does not appear to be more susceptible to the action of water and foods in the process of cooking than does iron, which has been used from time immemorial as the material of cooking pans...iron rusts very readily in the presence of water and air, while also it is attacked by organic acids [and]...iron salts in large quantities are injurious to the human organism, as are also large quantities of aluminum salts, but there is no evidence...that in the ordinary cooking operations of every-day life either iron or aluminum is so strongly attacked as to produce an objectionable amount of soluble salts. All that can be found even when organic acids and mineral salts are present in the cooking pan, are the merest traces of metal in its soluble state. The alumina precipitated by ammonia in the tests was in practically all cases an unweighable quantity. ...Aluminum... is a suitable material for cooking vessels and that any suspicion that it may communicate poisonous qualities to food in the process of cooking may be safely dismissed in view of the results of the practical experiments which have been recorded, showing that the metal is not appreciably acted upon in cooking operations. Aluminum is also an excellent heat conductor, so that cooking in aluminum vessels is therefore rapid, and fuel is economized in consequence. The Journal of the American Medical Association states that investigations made in Great Britain under the auspices of the Medical Research Council, indicate that cooking, even of acid fruits and vegetables for long periods of time, in aluminum ware, showed so little aluminum in the juices after cooking that it required the most delicate chemical tests to indicate its presence. Indeed, not only the fruits but the actual acids themselves were boiled in aluminum ware without accumulating more than slight traces of aluminum (1929 p.247).
Fishbein assessed The Golden Age's claim in 1927--and his assessment is as accurate today as it was then. In his words, research has shown that
the cooking even of acid fruits and vegetables for long periods of time resulted only in the slightest traits of aluminum in the juice when the process was completed. It is known that alkaline substances, such as sodium carbonate or bicarbonate will eat away aluminum, but these substances do not enter into cooking processes. The theory of the Toledo dentist is pernicious in that it is used to disseminate false advice concerning cancer and to attack the use of a well established household utility [aluminum cookware]. (1927:26-27)
After Scientific American published this criticism of Dr. Betts and The Golden Age, the Watchtower Society responded by printing numerous articles lambasting Scientific American. The most they could do was to call Scientific American a "windbag" that never learns "anything about anything of real value" and to personally attack Dr. Fishbein and his honesty and integrity (Betts 1928 p. 814-816; Woodworth 1933 p. 784). In short, Betts argued that Fishbein's and Scientific American's motive to attack The Golden Age was pure greed and money from the big aluminum companies. A reason Betts was wrong was because of his research methodology.
Unlike Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, Dr. A. S. Cushman, and other. . . apologists for the aluminum trust, they do not stop at mere chemical or electronic analysis and draw conclusions therefrom, but they establish a convincing connection between this method of taking particles of aluminum or compounds thereof into the human system and the definite effect on the person thus partaking. Dr. Wiley and Dr. Cushman merely analyzed food for aluminum, and, because they found only small quantities or mere traces of aluminum in suspected food, concluding that persons partaking of such food could not possibly become poisoned thereby; while Dr. Love and Dr. Betts each found poisoned persons and then traced the poison by means of scientific tests back to the aluminum and the aluminum-poisoned food (Temple 1931 p. 54).
Of course, Betts' method is faulty because it does not prove a cause and effect relationship, only experiment can do this. Betts even makes the astounding undocumented claim that aluminumware is "used previous to 99 percent of all group poisoning cases" (Betts 1932 p. 442).
The Watchtower's Response to their Critics
The Watchtower's response to their critics was often openly mocking, and not uncommonly deceitful, void of any credible scientific evidence or logic. A good example is an article printed under the title "No Need To Get Excited" in The Golden Age:
On page 43 of the magazine Correct Eating is a nice full-column advertisement of aluminum ware, backed up by a nine-page attack on the Golden Age and Doctor Betts for daring to publish an article whether aluminum as a plating for one's insides is all that it ought to be. Doctor Alsaker, writer of the article, gets quite excited, so much so, in fact, that he uses the personal pronoun 'I' a total of eighty-five times in the one article, but there is no need for all this distress of mind. The Golden Age has no thought of trying to get any of this advertising away from Correct Eating. Maybe after a while, we may let Doctor Betts reply to him. We shall see. Meantime, it is best to be calm. One thing is sure, however, and that is that the aluminum people ought to be pretty well pleased with Doctor Alsaker's efforts, and if they do not come across with several full-page advertisements it will show that they are most ungrateful. Quite a number of other journals have taken up the hue and cry, no doubt with hope of some similar reward. 'Verily they have their reward.' (Ap. 1928 p. 427).
Instead of addressing the arguments, they attacked the person and focused on mockery. Their main point in the above article is that profits only drive the Doctors and aluminum industry whom have no regard for the lives of people. This grossly overgeneralized sinister assessment hardly reflects much knowledge about either Doctors or corporations. Another example of their mocking attitude is as follows:
Several subscribers for The Golden Age make their living selling aluminum ware, or at any rate they were subscribers, but they have intimated that since we have said something about their business we are no longer any good, and never were any good, and they are surprised at us, because they have at hand the necessary opinions of "three responsible physicians" who know it all, and even if millions are made sick and die lingering deaths, we must not say a word on the subject. All of which scares us very much, and we promise not to publish anything more on this question until we get the next chance. (Woodworth 1928 p. 398)
Another account relates to the Watchtower's view of the reasons for the allegedly almost universal suppression of the information on the dangers of aluminum poisoning--namely "the invisible enemies of the public health, who are determined to keep aluminum on the market for financial reasons" (Woodworth 1929: 243). The writer adds that "business seems to have no conscience, and to insure trade and profits, not one of them will pay the least attention to the Golden Rule. And furthermore, if they knew that death would result to large numbers who buy and use their poisonous metal, they would still make and sell it until prohibited from doing so by statute laws." (1929 p. 243)
The Watchtower concludes that the reason the government does not ban aluminum cookware is because "the principle officers and stockholders in the aluminum trusts are such an important part of the government itself and have such power to control its activities." (Woodworth 1929: 275) Woodworth adds the cynical conclusion that "nobody...that is interested in the manufacture of aluminum utensils has any interest whatever in humanity" (1930 p. 560-561). Interestingly, an "unconfirmed" report printed in The Golden Age claims that the German government did prohibit aluminum ware for cooking purposes in 1928. Instead of reporting what a subscriber claimed, an event that would have been easy to confirm, the Watchtower chose not to (1928: 684). Another article claimed that the Perfection Aluminum Co. of Cleveland stopped making aluminum ware because, they infer, the company was owned by Mr. Rockefeller who also owns a research institute which "announced to the world that cancer is caused by chemical ferments" (1929 p. 405). What chemical ferments are is not stated, but they are probably not related to aluminum.
Betts' discussions often consist of long quotes, so long it is difficult to discern his point in using the quote. He uses terms without defining them, and implies that a health problem exists with aluminum when it does not. For example, he notes that some forms of aluminum are astringents and infers that this is harmful. An astringent is simply a chemical that causes a constriction or arrests or slow downs various discharges from mucus membranes in the throat or the conjunctiva of the eye. Astringents are still commonly used today, such as Witch hazel or shaving lotions which often used aluminum acetate to reduce oiliness and excessive perspiration. Many antiperspirants use astringents or aluminum compounds (aluminum chlorohydrate is common) to help control perspiration problems.
The fact that aluminum is so widely used in common products today such as anti-acids, antiperspirants and for purification as well as other uses indicates how wrong the Watchtower's crusade against aluminum was. Aluminum in sodium aluminum sulfate was also commonly found in baking powders called potash alum or just alum. Alum is used as a mordant for dyeing and in tanning and finishing leather goods. Betts claimed that it is used in baking powders as a cheap substitute for cream of tartar. If it was indeed a "powerful poison" as Betts (1929 p. 623) claims, it would be universally banned by now. Yet, as many Watchtower articles lamented, alum baking powder as well as aluminum utensils are ubiquitous, and are found everywhere in hospitals, food processing plants, restaurants and private homes. Amazingly, the Watchtower published articles that concluded the solution to aluminum poisoning is to ingest more aluminum!
According to medical scientific procedure and results, the acute poisoning by a drug or plant in a non-lethal dose is counteracted and corrected by the high potency of that same drug or plant given internally...We all know about the aluminum baking powder; but we often forget this in buying bakery cakes, etc., made with that same baking powder. Colic of a breast-fed baby was directly traced to the mother's eating one piece of this cake; and several doses of aluminum nitrate 200x and higher being given, the mother quickly neutralized the toxemia. (Schmidt 1929 p.436)
Betts labels aluminum a poison but never accurately defined the term poison, although he does quote Baughan who states "A poison is a substance of definite chemical composition, which by virtue of its constitution is capable...of modifying the cellular activity of one or more organs to such and extent as to impair health and possibly to destroy life." (Betts 1928 p.27-28) Of course, virtually all known substances fit this definition. All compounds are poisonous in a high enough amount, and no compound is poisonous in a low enough amount. The poison is the dose, not the substance. This important information Betts never seems to note or even be aware of. Betts even claimed aluminum was a "luminous" or a radioactive metal such as radium or Polomum-210! (1938 p. 10).
Betts also often shows that he does not have an understanding of even basic biochemistry. The digestive tract requires the proper balance of slightly alkaline and acid digestive juices, and Betts concludes that aluminum compounds are harmful because they adversely interfere with the normal alkalinity balance. Interestingly, aluminum compounds today are used to help reduce excess stomach acid so as to achieve the normal healthy pH balance. Usually the oxide of a metal produces a base, and an oxide of a non-metal produces an acid. Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) a metal and non-metal, produces a base and sulfuric acid (H2SO4), a non-metal oxide, produces an acid. One of Betts' main arguments is that aluminum dissolves during cooking and combines with various salts as sodium chloride to form aluminum chloride which he claims is a poison (Betts 1930 p. 527). The only reference cited by the Golden Age said aluminum is a astringent and a purgative and possibly an antiseptic, not a poison (Force 1932 p. 35). It is still today used as an astringent.
Misleading people as the Watchtower did to believe their diseases were cured when they were not, or that people had diseases that they did not is irresponsible. The most eminent medical authority then, Dr. Morris Fishbein, the author of thousands of articles, books and monographs, said it is "pernicious." This is one reason why people who leave the Watchtower are often bitter, or at least very angry, because of what they experienced. Witnesses just do not drop out nonchalantly as often happens with those who leave most Protestant denominations. Because of foolishness like the Watchtower's aluminum debacle many ex-Witnesses become angry at all religion, God and especially the Watchtower. This is why anti-Witness groups are thriving today, and why they will continue to do so, likely at an ever increasing rate as the foibles and the harm that the Watchtower has caused are exposed.
Why the Aluminum Crusade
How Betts entered into his life-long anti-Aluminum crusade was recounted by Quackenbush:
Among the first to discover the injurious effects of aluminum upon the human organism was Dr. C.T. Betts, a dentist with a talent for analysis. Doctors had given him up. He could not live much longer, they said. But Dr. Betts went west for a final try, at some mineral springs. One day, when filling an aluminum cup at one of these springs he noted that the water was effervescent in the cup. A lady filling a glass jar obtained no such results. The dentist's busy brain went to work on the simple fact, and he began to associate the phenomenon with the aluminum, and the aluminum with his illness. Returning home he discontinued the use of aluminum in his kitchen for a while to see. He did see. The aluminum disappeared from the kitchen and the sickness disappeared from the doctor (1947 p. 23).
Betts conversion to the cause was important because he was the major impetus behind the Watchtower's crusade against aluminum. Another reason for the crusade was that aluminum was for most people in the early 1900s a relatively unfamiliar metal. Although discovered in 1828 by the German chemist Frederick Wohlar, only small amounts of the purified metal could be obtained at a very high cost. Then the Ohioan, Charles M. Hall, a recent Oberlin college graduate, accepted the challenge of his chemistry professor and developed a method of separating aluminum ore by an electrolytic process.
As a result of this and other processing improvements, the price plummeted from 90 dollars per pound to as low as 27 cents per pound in the 1920s. Consequently, numerous products appeared on the market which contained aluminum. By the late 1920s aluminum became a huge business. Betts claims more than 200 thousand tons were produced in 1926, and that aluminum cooking ware became popular because it is an excellent heat and electrical conductor. Even Betts admits aluminum is an ideal metal for many uses including cooking ware--except for the fact that he believes it is highly poisonous. Other Golden Age articles condemned copper and even chromium (as found in stainless steel) cooking vessels as "far more" poisonous than aluminum (Ap. 10, 1935 p. 630-632).
One reason that the Watchtower focused so heavily on the evils of aluminum is that they thought its use was a sign of the last-days before the millennium. Diseases common to humans could then all be cured simply by the knowledge that aluminum causes many of them, and this knowledge would give Witnesses
some of the benefits of the millennium before Arm- ageddon. In the late 1920s they expected Armageddon any day--it was predicted for 1925 and then delayed for a few years (Gage 1929: 20-21). The Golden Age also tried to convey the idea that only they had a true interest in the "welfare of the people" and only they did not cater to greed and "big business" (Gage 1929:21).
Further, the Watchtower argued that the attacks on The Golden Age and Betts' position was solely because of "money, ignorance" and not "any real concern in regard to the truth on the aluminum question or the health interest of the people." (Sillaway 1929 p.22). The Golden Age was not conveying their view as mere opinion, but because, "the unhealthfulness of
aluminum has time and again been absolutely proved. Nor has its harmful effects ever been in the least exaggerated by Dr. Betts or anyone else." (Sillaway 1929:22) They also claimed "the half yet remains to be told." The Golden Age also concluded that "the results of its use, not mere scientific opinion, is the iron clad" proof that aluminum is poison, not realizing that the scientific method is a means of determining truth by trying to rule out alternative explanations, such as psychosomatic or the placebo effect. The Watchtower's proof as late as 1949 was still their dubious case histories, such as a couple who did not use aluminum cookware, but visited friends that did. Just one meal from aluminum cookware gave both the man and his wife "symptoms of aluminum poisoning" which they related in detail. Sillaway also suffered from "an internal cancerous condition" (1929 p.22). One also may wonder why a highly disproportionate a number of Golden Age readers seem to have cancer, or at least had cancer before they dumped their aluminum cookware.
Another reason the Watchtower pushed the aluminum scare was because it was part of their anti-establishment health crusade. They adopted a series of anti-establishment positions including the view that vaccinations are evil and do more harm than good, and that food grown by non-natural fertilizer and pesticides is harmful. As Young notes "aluminum was a particular bugaboo, a scare doctrine at least a half a century old. Hohensee [a famous medical quack] had propagated this theory for years. He also denounced the hazard of peeling vegetables with metal knifes. Like many other fringe operators, he has his own 'safe' tenderizer and Leucite knives to sell." (Young 1967 p. 352). Hohensee was according to many a charlatan, in trouble with the law much of his life. He barely started high school and was evidently in the health food movement more to make money than help people.
Many of those defending the Watchtower's stand, as Wm. F. Koch of Detroit (see Betts 1925 p. 361) were notorious anti-establishment medical quacks that caused much harm to millions of innocent victims (Gardner 1957). Betts himself was a member of many quack organizations and was not only opposed to water fluoridation, but even believed that persons under the age of 15 should not brush their teeth unless they "are ill or in need of medical attention" (Betts 1928 p. 211). He argued that since cats and dogs don't brush after each meal, humans shouldn't either and concludes "brushing causes the diseases of the mouth, now common to our children" (Betts 1929 p. 211). One wonders why he did not have his license revoked. Was this advise designed to increase his dental business? He also condemned aspirin, claiming that it caused numerous diseases and that the use of aluminum was probably the cause of the problem that people took aspirin for (Betts 1935 p. 343). Betts also concluded that "the majority" of M.D.'s in America "practice pure quackery and are also faddists and ignoramuses" (Betts 1938 p. 12). That the Watchtower relied on this man as their chief authority for their aluminum doctrine is nothing short of amazing.
Ironically, The Golden Age often referred to those who were not aware of the Watchtower's wisdom regarding aluminum as "uninitiated" and persons who published articles critical of the wonderful health benefits of abstaining from aluminum were "rotten." The Watchtower called those who critiqued their position on aluminum "pseudo-scientists who would not be expected to favor the truth on the subject...[because] the truth was not wanted [by them]." (Sillaway 1929: 21).
The Watchtower also mocked those who criticized them with words such as those quoted from an editorial reprinted from a Colorado newspaper: "If they think aluminum poisoning is a good way to hasten their footsteps out of this world, it is all well with us. But it is a general human attribute to try to stay in this world as long as possible" (Woodworth 1929: 407). This editorial added, "aluminum poisoning is killing more people every day than the flu." Presumably The Golden Age quoted these words because they agreed with them. This article was taken from a letter written to a local paper evidently by a Watchtower follower which was reprinted in The Golden Age evidently to give some credibility to these ideas.
Even the federal government was concerned about Dr. Betts' and The Golden Age misleading people. Betts reports "the Federal Trade Commission's attorney dropped in here the other day, with invested authority to examine all my accounts and correspondence...he advised me that I had been charged with conspiracy and violation of the Clayton Act..." (Betts 1929 p. 244). He adds that they confiscated his two self-published books, An Opinion on Aluminum and Aluminum Poisoning and "if they succeed in this action, as charged, both books will be suppressed." Evidently the government was concerned that he was dispensing misleading and erroneous medical information which caused much harm to others. Betts then makes the claim that someone who was enthusiastically selling his book was "bumped off" by being pushed onto a train rail which crushed his skull, caused him to become insane. Betts then recovered the books from the man's daughter so she "will not meet the same fate as her father" (p. 244).
An example of Betts irresponsible claims is found in an interview of him printed in the Toledo Blade. The reporter described Betts as a man whose persuasive arguments have prevented the fluoridation of water supplies in many cities of the nation against the contentions of such organizations as the American Dental Association, American Medical Association, United States Public Health Service, National Research Council, American Waterworks Association and many of the country's leading dental and medical scientists and biochemists. Dr. Betts is widely recognized as a significant leader in the fight against fluoridation. 'What are some of your arguments against fluoridation?' you ask. "Why are there a great many. In the first place all the universities of the country are against it." "All the universities?" "Yes, all of them." "I understand there are about 600 universities and colleges in the United States. Do they all oppose fluoridation?" "Yes, every one of them". . .Does the University of Michigan school of dentistry oppose it?" you ask, seeming to recall that its faculty members are some of the leading proponents of fluoridation (Bruner 1954 p.4).
In 1936 the Watchtower published a lead article entitled "Aluminum Poisoning Achievements" which again repeated the numerous now familiar "case histories" about the many people that contacted cancer and other horrible diseases from aluminum cookware. This article was one of their longest, most extreme irresponsible and bombastic articles on aluminum (1936 p. 803-812). One quote illustrates this:
It was salts of aluminum that killed the children, and is killing the whole country... Meantime "health experts" are filling the papers and magazines with pictures and stories and lies of how supremely healthful aluminum utensils are. It is astonishing what a capacity the American people have for absorbing lies. And don't the Big Business boys know it well?
Then under the headline "Aluminum Trust Guilty of Two More Murders" they stated,
. . . to make food poisonous. . . let it stand long enough in the aluminum vessel in which it is cooked. With this preliminary information anybody except a hardware merchant, or a publisher of advertisements, or a member of the A.M.A. will understand [a]...dispatch [that] appeared in the Miami (Fla.) Daily Tribune for June 27, under the headline "Bad Potatoes Kill Two Boys." It is not surprising how quickly and efficiently the [Aluminum] trust gets on the job to cover up the truth in every one of these cases of aluminum poisoning? All that was necessary to conceal the truth was to use the word "bacterial" instead of the word "aluminum," and the trick is done as neatly as any hangman ever tied a nose. But will those who arrange and support this diabolical propaganda to suppress the truth be able to answer to Almighty God for the suffering and misery of which they are the direct cause? (Woodworth 1936 p. 809)
Then in 1948, the Watchtower published one of their most ill informed articles yet:
If you have cooked your potatoes or any legume, such as peas or beans, in your aluminum container, just take out the vegetables and toss your silver into the water in which they were cooked. While you are eating your vegetables, the broth in the aluminum pot will be eating the tarnish off your silverware...The purpose in publishing this news is not only to offer a practical kitchen help to the housewife. A more important reason is to draw attention to the role of aluminum cooking ware. When vegetable broth contacts aluminum a chemical solution is created that is powerful enough to eat the rust off silver. Would you care to eat this solution? Don't you wonder whether it is also powerful enough to affect the human system (Quackenbush 1948 p. 11).
This process does not "eat the rust off silver," but chemically reacts with it so as to break the sulfur-silver bond. Silver reacts, not primarily with oxygen as does iron, but with the sulfur in the air to form a black sulfur compound called tarnish. One could also without knowledge of the reactions involved, as was true of the Watchtower, conclude that legumes should not be ingested because they are "powerful enough to eat the rust off of silver." The Watchtower clearly should have consulted a professional chemist before they printed this article. This irresponsibility is typical of Watchtower history and is a major reason why they have championed so many foolish lost causes, most of which are today an enormous embarrassment to them.
The End of the Watchtower's Crusade
The Watchtower backed out very slowly from their long love affair with aluminum quackery, formally ending it only in 1962. A hint of the beginning of this shift was the following amazing statement:
The editor of The Golden Age makes no pretense of being a physician or of knowing much about the care of the human body, but publishes such contributions on these subjects as seem to be written in a readable manner and to have some basis in reason, and makes such personal observations as he believes to be correct. If you are benefited by them, he is glad. You would hardly believe that any article that can be written about the care of the human body is almost sure to stir somebody to anger and bitter words, even threats; but such is the case. Try to pick out the health articles what seems good and beneficial in them, but do not become peeved or angry or exasperated when some good soul who really has your welfare at heart suggests something not to your liking. He might be right. Further: Do not allow yourself to get into the mental attitude that what you see in The Golden Age is true because you saw it there. Under no consideration would we willingly mislead anybody on any subject, but as we feel our way toward the light on all subjects we stumble sometimes (Woodworth, 1929: 756).
Nonetheless, The Golden Age continued publishing stridently anti-aluminum articles until 1949. As a result, the Watchtower has found a prominent place in Warner's classic text on medical quackery (1930) and endorsed or condoned some of the most infamous medical frauds and quacks of history (Gardner 1957 p. 213). In 1949 they published the last article and repeated the usual litany of aluminum evils, adding that:
The facts of the subject are an inside story, but since your insides and those of millions of other people are involved, Dr. C.T. Betts, of Toledo, Ohio, has brought out facts which were being covered up. He found from personal experience, experiment and observation how injurious aluminum can be. He has issued an interesting pamphlet on "How Does the Government Suppress the Truth About Aluminum?" The pamphlet includes a personal narrative. In 1913 Dr. Betts was told by three physicians he had but a few months to live. Dr. Betts is alive today. He cured himself by discontinuing the use of aluminum cooking utensils. He had found that aluminum in contact with mineral water produced gas. He noted how aluminum or alum, mixed with soda and sulfuric acid, was sold as baking powder, to make gas in the dough. The same chemical reaction occurred in the stomach when aluminum that had come off into the food contacted gastric juices (Quackenbush 1949 p. 16).
What this gas is or why it is harmful is never stated except noting that it has an "astringent effect." In 1969 the Watchtower called aluminum "one of the most versatile metals known to man for which he should be grateful to the Grand Creator, who first locked it in the crust of the earth" (Quackenbush 1969 p.20). Periodically the topic is raised again, seemingly in an attempt to vindicate their position. An 1982 Awake! article (June 8 p. 30) quoted a pharmacologist who claimed aluminum may contribute to health disorders including senility. Later reports concluded that this concern was probably false. Their formal stand is now:
What about the aluminum cooking utensils?...At present the great majority of authorities in medical and scientific fields gave aluminum a rather clean bill of health. Perhaps the most learned and extensive by the Kettering Laboratories [in a report that] consists of ninety pages and was made by a group of scientists who consulted 1,500 books, articles and reports on the subject. It concludes with this statement: "There is no reason for concern...about the hazards to human health derived from well-established and extensive current uses of such products. Nor need there be concern over the more extended uses which would seem to be in the offing."...For Christian ministers, especially, it is well to note that, apart from eating what they have found to be good for them, there are other things of far greater importance than material food. Rom. 14:17. (Quackenbush 1962 p. 8-10).
What of the Future?
It is this writer's conclusion that the Watchtower will someday fully join in the medical mainstream and reflect the medical conclusions of western society--whether right or wrong they will probably become a firm part of the establishment they have condemned for a hundred years. This will have positive effects; they will likely totally drop their erroneous blood transfusion prohibition and once again accept the view that they once taught, namely that giving blood is an example of the kindness caused by "human goodness." They once noted it was good to give blood to "a little lad needing a blood transfusion to save his life" (The Golden Age 1927: 582-583). This article relates a case of a child needing blood which resulted in appeal for blood. Soon "fifteen hundred people had responded, urging that they be given an opportunity to give some of their blood to help the little fellow" stay alive. In 1961 this very act became a disfellowshipping offense with tragic consequences. As the aluminum condemnation now makes the Watchtower look foolish, so too will their blood teaching.
1 Dr. Betts died on Dec. 19, 1959 at the age 80 in the Perrysburg Nursing Home, Perrysburg, OH. He was born in Bettsville, OH. and lived in Maumee Ohio (229 East Dudley St.), a suburb of Toledo, and for 57 years he practiced Dentistry in both Perrysburg and Toledo (Obituary Toledo Blade Dec. 21, 1959 p. 14). One Golden Age article incorrectly called him a "physician," specifically an "humanitarian physician" (Valiente 1930 p. 50). He joined the 1st Presbyterian Church of Maumee on Dec. 7, 1924 and was "suspended" on Ap. 1, 1941. Nonetheless his funeral services were conducted by Rev. Weinberg of the 1st Presbyterian Church of Maumee.
Archer, Herald. "An M.D.'s Experience With Aluminum." The Golden Age. Nov. 23, 1932 pp. 126-127.
Barber, R. H. "The Abundant Metal Again" The Golden Age. Feb 27, 1935 pp. 341-343.
Baxter, Emmet. "No Mere Opinion on Aluminum." The Golden Age. August 8, 1928. p.713.
Betts, Charles Truax. "Is Aluminum a Poison? An Opinion." The Golden Age. March 7, 1925 pp. 359-363.
______. An Opinion on Aluminum; A Series of Articles. Toledo, Ohio Research Publishing Co. 1926 (A 36 page hard bound book that Betts self-published).
______. Aluminum Poisoning. Toledo, OH. Research Publishing Co. 1928 (Also self published by Betts).
______. "An Opinion Upon Aluminum Kitchen Utensils." The Golden Age. August 8, 1928 pp. 710-713.
______. "Answer to Dr. Morris Fishbein." The Golden Age. September 10, 1928. pp.814-816.
______. "Aluminum in City Drinking Water." The Golden Age. Oct. 3, 1928 p. 16.
______. "Cancer Caused by Chemical Poisons." The Golden Age. Nov. 14, 1928 p.115.
______. "Lightning Workers." The Golden Age. Dec. 12, 1928 pp. 172-173.
______. "The Way of the Reformer." The Golden Age. Jan. 9, 1929 p. 244.
______. "Is 'Sodium Aluminum Sulfate' Alum?" The Golden Age. June 26, 1929. pp.623-627.
______. "Organic Aluminum is a Poison Too." The Golden Age. August 7, 1929. pp. 720-721.
______. "Do Aluminum Kitchen Utensils Have a Clean Bill of Health?" The Golden Age. August 21, 1929. pp.754-756.
______. "Coffee Poisoning by Aluminum" The Golden Age. September 18,1929. pp. 824-825.
______. "Answer the Worlds Greatest Food Authority." The Golden Age. May 14, 1930 pp. 527-528
______. "Aluminum Cooking Recipes" The Golden Age. Oct. 15, 1930 p. 49.
______. "How to Test An Aluminum Cooking Utensil." The Golden Age. June 24, 1931 p. 628.
______. "Truth Comes to the Surface Quickly" The Golden Age. April 13, 1932 p. 442.
______. "Poisoning by Aspirin" The Golden Age Feb 27, 1935 p. 343.
______. "Who are the Quacks?" Consolation. Feb 23, 1938. pp. 11-12.
______. "Does the Government Encourage Illness?" Consolation. Feb 22, 1939, pp.10-11.
______. "Dangers of Fluorine in our Water Supply" Toledo, Ohio: Research Pub. Co. 1953.
Burnham, H.M. "A Good Joke On Cancer." The Golden Age. April 16, 1930 p. 462.
______. "Poisoning by Aspirin." The Golden Age. Feb. 27, 1935 p. 343.
Bowers, Mrs. Florence. "An Easy Road To Health" The Golden Age. May 27, 1931. p. 588.
Broschears, T. C. "Aluminum Dental Plate Did It" Consolation. Sept. 21, 1938 p. 11.
Bruner, Ray. "Toledo Dentist Among Top Leaders Fighting Water Fluoridation to Combat Tooth Decay." Toledo Blade May 26,
1954 p. 4.
Canover, Irving. "Doctor Betts Confirms This." Consolation Sept. 21, 1938 p. 11.
Crybush, Rose Husbands. "Foxes and Mothers." Consolation. Sept. 21, 1938. p.11.
Dennison, E. J. "Idiosyncrasy to Aluminum?" The Golden Age. May 6, 1936 p. 506.
Evans, W. M. "Mordants and Alums." The Golden Age. Jl.. 3, pp. 631-632.
Fishbein, Morris M.D. "The Month in Medical Science." Scientific American. Vol. 136 Jan 1927 pp.26-27.
Force, H. J. "Poisons Formed by Aluminum Cooking Utensils" The Golden Age. Oct. 26, 1932 pp. 35-38.
______. "Poisons Formed by Aluminum Cooking Utensils." The Golden Age. Jl.. 3, 1935 pp. 631-632.
Foote, J. A. "If You Like Aluminum, Go To It" The Golden Age. May 28, 1930 p. 650.
Fraser, Charles W.. "Playing a Mean Trick on a Kid." The Golden Age. September 10, 1928. p.816.
______. "Aluminum Causes Death of Twins." The Golden Age. Oct. 16, 1929 p. 52.
Gage, Mae. "One More for the Un-Scientific American" The Golden Age. October 2, 1929 p.20.
Gardner, Martin. Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. N.Y. Dover 1957.
Grimwade, Mrs. L. "The Proof of the Pudding." Consolation. Ap. 20, 1938, p. 10.
Hansen, Nils S. Benefits of a Change of Diet. The Golden Age. May 2, 1928 p. 495.
Held, William. "Disease and Early Grave via the Modern Kitchen" The Golden Age. Nov. 16, 1927 pp.107-110.
Higgins, Mrs. Thomas. "Tried It on the Dog." The Golden Age. Nov. 14, 1928 p.115.
Hopkins, Albert A. "Aluminum on Trial" Scientific American. 140 (3) March 1929 p. 246-248.
Hunton, Mrs. A.B. "No More Aluminum Headaches." The Golden Age. September 10, 1928. p.816.
Love, Dr. S. R. "Iron Versus Aluminum Utensils" The Golden Age. Oct. 1, 1930 p. 14.
Maercker, E. "Why Do Hospitals Use Aluminum Utensils" The Golden Age. Jan 7, 1931 p. 243.
Norderum, Mrs. Theodore. "Marked Improvement in Health." The Golden Age. Oct. 31, 1928 p.81.
Peterson, Fred C. "Unwilling To Poison Humanity" The Golden Age. May 14, 1930 p. 542.
Quackenbush, Colin (Ed) "Is Aluminum Poisonous?" Awake! Jan 8, 1947 pp. 21-24.
_______. "Take Out Potatoes, Toss in Silver" Awake! May 22, 1948. p. 11.
_______. "Inside Story About Aluminum" Awake! Aug. 8, 1949 p. 16.
_______. "What About Aluminum Cooking Utensils?" Awake! Je 22, 1962 pp. 8-10.
_______. "Aluminum, From Curiosity To Versatility" Awake! Aug. 8, 1969 pp. 17-21.
Reed, David. Blood on the Altar, Confessions of a Jehovah's Witness Minister. Amherst N.Y. Prometheus Books 1996.
Reynolds, Dr. W.E. "Principles and Practice of Medicine." The Golden Age. Sept. 4, 1929 p. 774.
Ross, L.C. "A Cook's Experience with Aluminum" The Golden Age. April 3, 1929 p. 431.
Schmidt, Dr. G. "Some Unusual Sources and Results of Aluminum Poisoning" The Golden Age. Ap. 3, 1929 p. 436.
Scott, H. A. "Aluminum Experiences and Observations." The Golden Age. May 1, 1929. p. 503.
Sherwood, Mrs. A. H. "Aluminum and Increased Stomach Troubles." The Golden Age. March 21, 1928 p. 307.
Sillaway, H. "A Dead Fly in the Ointment." The Golden Age October 2, 1929 pp. 21-22.
Starwalt, E. J "Alkalies are Solvents for Aluminum." The Golden Age. Ap., 1928 pp. 427.
Stuart, E.M. " Sundry Experiences with Aluminum." The Golden Age. May 29, 1929 p. 504.
Temple, H.C. "Aluminum Poisoning" The Golden Age. Oct. 28, 1931 p. 54.
Thayer, Mrs. B.B. "An Apostle to Aluminum Sufferers." The Golden Age. August 7, 1929. p. 720.
Valiente, Dr. Francisco. "Alum and Chlorine in the Water Supply" The Golden Age. Oct. 15, 1930 p. 50.
W. I. E. " A Cemetery Dinner and the Press." The Golden Age. Feb 6, 1929 p. 302.
Warner, Chas. A. Quacks. 15th Ed. Jackson, MS Chas. W. Warner, Pub. 1941.
Whibley, Edwin. "Should Have Started Sooner" The Golden Age. Nov. 28, 1928 p. 145.
White, George Starr. "Why Take Chances" The Golden Age. March 4, 1931 p. 374.
Williams, Mrs. J. H. "Scientific American, Please Copy." The Golden Age. p. 774.
Winder, Mrs. Edna . "Results of a De-aluminized Diet." The Golden Age. April 3, 1929. p. 437.
Witter, I.D. "Aluminum Poison and 'Egypt'" The Golden Age. Sept. 8, 1937 pp. 778-779.
Woodworth, Clayton .J. (Ed) "With Neatness and Dispatch" The Golden Age, Nov. 16, 1927 p. 110.
______. "Cooking-Ware in Germany." The Golden Age Jl.. 25, 1928 p. 684.
______. "Aluminum in the Blood." The Golden Age Nov. 28, 1928 p. 145.
______. "The Aluminum Company of Canada." The Golden Age September 10, 1928. p. 816.
______. "Alucol Not Approved." The Golden Age. Oct. 3, 1928 p. 16.
______. "The Aluminum Poisoning at Punxsutawney." The Golden Age. March 21, 1928 pp. 397-398.
______. "No Need to Get Excited Correct Eating." The Golden Age. Ap. 1928 p. 427.
______. "Baking Powders and Cooking Utensils." The Golden Age. Ap. 18, 1928 pp. 455-457.
______. "Aluminum Poisoning in Texas." The Golden Age. Oct. 17, 1928 p. 40.
______. "A Personal Opinion of 'Aluminum Poisoning'" The Golden Age. January 9, 1929. p.243.
______. "Two More Aluminum Sacrifices." The Golden Age. January 23, 1929. p. 275.
______. "Discontinued Making Aluminum Ware." The Golden Age. March 20, 1929. p. 405.
______. "Off Aluminum for Life." The Golden Age. March 20, 1929 p. 406.
______. "A Little Word About Health Articles" The Golden Age. Aug. 21, 1929. p. 756.
______. "The Merry Work of Poisoning" The Golden Age. May 28, 1930. pp. 560-561.
______. "Fewer People Using Aluminum" The Golden Age. May 28, 1930. p. 651.
______. "Sudden Light Dawns on an Editor" The Golden Age. Oct. 30, 1930. p. 87.
______. "Dr. Betts and 'TNT' Magazine" The Golden Age. Ap. 15, 1931 pp. 463-464.
______. "Why Truth on Aluminum Makes Slow Headway" The Golden Age. Nov. 15, 1931 p. 107.
______. "Where Aluminum Does all the Cooking" The Golden Age. Nov. 29, 1931 p. 120.
______. "Aluminum Ware Takes A Life At Cumberland
College" The Golden Age. Sept. 25, 1932 p.
______. "Aluminum Sauerkraut Path To Death." The Golden Age. Feb 1, 1933 p. 279.
______. "Aluminum Cooking Utensil Testimonial. The Golden Age. March 15, 1933 p. 368.
______. "Aluminum Vats for Beer." The Golden Age. Aug. 2, 1933 p. 691.
______. "Death in the Aluminum Bucket" The Golden Age. Sept. 13, 1933. p. 784.
______. "Aluminum Safe" The Golden Age. April 25, 1934 p. 470.
_____. "Sales Propaganda Keeps Millions Ill part 1" The Golden Age. Sept. 12, 1934 pp. 771-779.
_____. "Sales Propaganda Keeps Millions Ill Part 2" The Golden Age. Sept. 26, 1934. pp. 803-811.
_____. "Danger of Food Contamination by Aluminum" The Golden Age. Jan 2, 1935. p. 199.
_____. "Chronic Poison by Aluminum and its Alloys." The Golden Age. Jan 2, 1935, p. 208.
_____. "Two More Poisonings" The Golden Age. Jan 2, 1935, p. 208.
_____. "The Trail of The Aluminum Trust." The Golden Age. Jan 30, 1935 p. 269.
_____. "Aluminum Yet Again." The Golden Age. Ap 10, 1935 p. 44.
_____. "Lemon Juice; Aluminum and Cider." The Golden Age. Ap. 10 1935 p. 44.
_____. "100 Physicians Poisoned in France." The Golden Age. Aug. 28, 1935 p. 151.
_____. "Aluminum Wrappers Spoil Cheese." The Golden Age. Aug. 28, 1935, p. 151.
_____. "Qualifications of Aluminum Salesman." The Golden Age. Aug. 28, 1935 p. 51.
_____. "Aluminum Trust 97.71 Percent Perfect." The Golden Age. Dec 4, 1935 p. 143.
_____. "Aluminum Feet." The Golden Age. Dec 4, 1935 p. 143.
_____. "Navy Casting out Aluminum." The Golden Age. Dec 4, 1935 p. 143.
_____. "Out of the Depths." The Golden Age. Dec 4, 1935, p. 143.
_____. "It Wasn't the Sewer." The Golden Age.Dec 4, 1935 p. 143.
_____. "Aluminum Utensils In Quebec Prisons." The Golden Age. Feb. 12, 1936 p. 304.
_____. "It is Thought." The Golden Age. Feb 12, 1936 p. 304.
_____. "Indianapolis has Another Poisoning." The Golden Age. Feb 12, 1936 p. 304.
_____. "One Reason For Insanity Increase." The Golden Age. Feb 12, 1936 p. 304.
_____. "Aluminum In Restaurants." The Golden Age. Feb 12, 1936 p. 304.
_____. "Opinions on Cooking Utensils." The Golden Age. Feb 12, 1936 p. 304.
_____. "A Dancer Toying with Death." The Golden Age. Feb 12, 1936 p. 304.
_____. "Aluminum Poisoning Achievements." The Golden Age. Sept. 23, 1936. pp. 803-804.
_____. "Water?" The Golden Age. Je 30, 1937 p. 611-615.
_____. "Doctor Betts' Quaint Humor." The Golden Age. Aug. 25, 1937. p. 750-752.
_____. "Aluminum Not Fit for my Dog." The Golden Age. Sept. 8, 1937 p. 779.
_____. "Doctor Clendening Widely Advertised." The Golden Age. Sept. 8, 1937, p. 779.
_____. "Somebody Trying to Kill Betts Yet." The Golden Age. Sept. 8, 1937 p. 779.
_____. "They Feel Fine Now!" The Golden Age. Sept. 8, 1937 pp. 779-780.
_____. "Aluminum." The Golden Age. Sept. 8, 1937 p. 780.
_____. "In What Were They Cooked." The Golden Age. Sept. 8, 1937 p. 780.
_____. "Small Chance For the Dogs." The Golden Age. Sept. 8, 1937 p. 780.
_____. "Cancer Mortality Continues to Increase." The Golden Age. Sept. 8, 1937.
_____. "Poisonous Fumes From Aluminum Plant." The Golden Age. Sept. 8, 1937 p.780.
_____. "Persons Using Aluminum Bottle Caps." The Golden Age. Sept. 8, 1937 p. 780.
_____. "Want to Lie Up For a Week?" The Golden Age. Sept. 8, 1937 p. 780.
_____. "Kept In Aluminum." Consolation. Ap. 6, 1938 p. 12.
_____. "Aluminum Homicide." Consolation. Ap. 20, 1938 p. 10.
_____. "Cumulative Poison." Consolation. Ap. 20, 1938 p. 10.
_____. "Aluminum Foil for Wrapping Food." Consolation. Ap. 20, 1938 p. 10.
_____. "Mnimosinon a la Cemetary." Consolation. Sept. 21, 1938 p. 11.
_____. "Why the Silence." Consolation. Sept. 21, 1938 p. 11.
Young, James Harvey. The Medical Messiahs; A Social History of Health Quackery in 20th-Century America.Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1967.
Also used was the Toledo Blade, for Nov. 30, 1930; June 20, 1949; and May 26, 1954.