Why is aluminum in baking soda?I have read background and chemical properties of baking soda, but nothing explains how aluminum gets in it

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melony82 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main ingredient in baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, is a base.  In order for baking soda to do the job of leavening baked goods (making them rise), it needs to produce carbon dioxide bubbles.  This happens when the bicarbonate is mixed with an acid (the reason the reaction does not happen in the container is that water has to be added first).  One of the acids commonly used is sodium aluminum sulfate. It is often used in conjunction with monocalcium phosphate, another acid.  The reason sodium aluminum sulfate is selected is that it takes a little longer to react with the base, and this maximizes the amount of time during which carbon dioxide bubbles are being formed.  In fact, with the sodium aluminum phosphate, many of the bubbles are produced during actual baking.  This allows for the fluffiest possible end product.