Aluminium (aluminum salts) occurs as a natural constituent in drinking water and other foods, especially in fruit and vegetables. The aluminum salts are taken up mainly via the food. In humans, the uptake from the gastrointestinal tract amounts to no more than 1 %.


In 1989, a tentative tolerable weekly uptake of 7 mg/kg weight was fixed for the total uptake of aluminum (ions) from food, including aluminum salts in food additives, by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the WHO (JECFA) and the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) of the European Commission [3,4].

Intoxication sets at much higher doses: Al2O3 is toxic (LD50) upon swallowing of 5 g/kg weight (rat) [1], which means that an adult weighing 70 kg has to take up at least 350 g of Al2O3. 4 g are enough, however, to cause serious disorders such as mucous membrane irritations. Aluminum oxide is resorbed at a small rate only via the gastrointestinal tract. Aluminum compounds are secreted mainly via the kidneys [2].


Literature arrow down

  1. (DE): Material Safety Data Sheet Aluminium (status 2010). (in German)
  2. BFR Opinion Nr.33/2007 (22.07.2007): „Keine Alzheimer-Gefahr durch Aluminium aus Bedarfsgegenständen“.
  3. Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) (1989). Toxicological evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. WHO Food Additives Series 24: 113-154.
  4. World Health Organisation (WHO) (2011). Guidelines for drinking-water quality, fourth edition. ISBN: 978 92 4 154815 1


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