Aluminium in the food supply comes from natural sources including water, food additives, and contamination by aluminium utensils and containers. Most unprocessed foods, except for certain herbs and tea leaves, contain low (< 5 micrograms Al/g) levels of aluminium. Thus most adults consume 1-10 mg aluminium daily from natural sources. Cooking in aluminium containers often results in statistically significant, but not practically important, increases in the aluminium content of foods. Intake of aluminium from food additives varies greatly (0 to 95 mg Al daily) among residents in North America, with the median intake for adults being about 24 mg daily. Generally, the intake of aluminium from foods is less than 1% of that consumed by individuals using aluminium-containing pharmaceuticals. Currently the real scientific question is not the amount of aluminium in foods but the availability of the aluminium in foods and the sensitivity of some population groups to aluminium. Several dietary factors, including citrate, may affect the absorption of aluminium. Aluminium contamination of soy-based formulae when fed to premature infants with impaired kidney function and aluminium contamination of components of parenteral solutions (i.e. albumin, calcium and phosphorus salts) are of concern.
Dietary and other sources of aluminium intake Ciba Found Symp 1992 January