Aluminium toxicokinetics: an updated minireview

Pharmacol Toxicol. 2001 Apr;88(4):159-67. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0773.2001.d01-98.x.


This MiniReview updates and expands the MiniReview of aluminium toxicokinetics by Wilhelm et al. published by this journal in 1990. The use of 26Al, analyzed by accelerator mass spectrometry, now enables determination of Al toxicokinetics under physiological conditions. There is concern about aluminium in drinking water. The common sources of aluminium for man are reviewed. Oral Al bioavailability from water appears to be about 0.3%. Food is the primary common source. Al bioavailability from food has not been adequately determined. Industrial and medicinal exposure, and perhaps antiperspirant use, can significantly increase absorbed aluminium. Inhalation bioavailability of airborne soluble Al appears to be about 1.5% in the industrial environment. Al may distribute to the brain from the nasal cavity, but the significance of this exposure route is unknown. Systemic Al bioavailability after single underarm antiperspirant application may be up to 0.012%. All intramuscularly injected Al, e.g. from vaccines, may eventually be absorbed. Al distributes unequally to all tissues. Distribution and renal excretion appear to be enhanced by citrate. Brain uptake of Al may be mediated by Al transferrin and Al citrate complexes. There appears to be carrier-mediated efflux of Al citrate from the brain. Elimination half-lives of years have been reported in man, probably reflecting release from bone. Al elimination is primarily renal with < or = 2% excreted in bile. The contribution of food to absorbed Al needs to be determined to advance our understanding of the major components of Al toxicokinetics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / analysis
  • Aluminum / pharmacokinetics*
  • Aluminum / toxicity
  • Biological Availability
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Food Supply
  • Humans
  • Radioisotopes
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Fast Atom Bombardment
  • Water Supply / analysis


  • Radioisotopes
  • Aluminum