A comparison of aluminum levels in tea products from Hong Kong markets and in varieties of tea plants from Hong Kong and India

Chemosphere. 2009 May;75(7):955-62. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2009.01.003. Epub 2009 Feb 23.


This study project aimed to investigate the concentrations of aluminum (Al) in tea products available in Hong Kong markets. Tea samples consisting of 47 different tea bags and 28 samples of tea leaves were analysed for concentrations of Al. All tea samples released Al (0.70-5.93 mg L(-1)) during a standard infusion period. In comparison to the Joint FAO/WHO Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake guideline of 7 mg Al kg(-1) body weight, it was concluded that tea made with these tea leaves will not impose adverse human health impacts. The relative effects of age, soil available Al, and genetic differences on the levels of Al accumulated by tea bushes were investigated. It was found that there was no definite trend between the amount of Al accumulated and the age of tea bushes. The soil available Al influenced the levels of Al in Camellia sinensis to a certain extent, but it was evident that the ability of different varieties of C. sinensis to accumulate Al was variable. C. sinensis accumulated Al in all stages of growth. Young seedlings had lower contents of Al while the mobility of Al within the tea bushes was high. In a manner typical of hyperaccumulators, Al was not retained in the roots, but was consistently transported to the shoots. Aluminum in the tea bush was distributed between the different parts in the following order: mature leaves>roots>branches>young leaves.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / analysis*
  • Camellia sinensis / chemistry
  • Camellia sinensis / growth & development
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Structures / chemistry
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Tea / chemistry*


  • Soil Pollutants
  • Tea
  • Aluminum