The toxicity of aluminium in humans

Morphologie. 2016 Jun;100(329):51-5. doi: 10.1016/j.morpho.2015.12.003. Epub 2016 Feb 28.


We are living in the 'aluminium age'. Human exposure to aluminium is inevitable and, perhaps, inestimable. Aluminium's free metal cation, Alaq(3+), is highly biologically reactive and biologically available aluminium is non-essential and essentially toxic. Biologically reactive aluminium is present throughout the human body and while, rarely, it can be acutely toxic, much less is understood about chronic aluminium intoxication. Herein the question is asked as to how to diagnose aluminium toxicity in an individual. While there are as yet, no unequivocal answers to this problem, there are procedures to follow to ascertain the nature of human exposure to aluminium. It is also important to recognise critical factors in exposure regimes and specifically that not all forms of aluminium are toxicologically equivalent and not all routes of exposure are equivalent in their delivery of aluminium to target sites. To ascertain if Alzheimer's disease is a symptom of chronic aluminium intoxication over decades or breast cancer is aggravated by the topical application of an aluminium salt or if autism could result from an immune cascade initiated by an aluminium adjuvant requires that each of these is considered independently and in the light of the most up to date scientific evidence. The aluminium age has taught us that there are no inevitabilities where chronic aluminium toxicity is concerned though there are clear possibilities and these require proving or discounting but not simply ignored.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Autism spectrum disorders; Autisme et apparenté; Breast cancer; Cancer du sein; Chronic aluminium intoxication; Exposition humaine à l’aluminium; Human exposure to aluminium; Intoxication aluminique chronique; Maladie d’Alzheimer.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects*
  • Aluminum Compounds / adverse effects
  • Aluminum Compounds / pharmacokinetics*
  • Aluminum Compounds / toxicity*
  • Alzheimer Disease / chemically induced*
  • Antiperspirants / adverse effects
  • Antiperspirants / chemistry
  • Biological Availability
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vaccines / adverse effects


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Aluminum Compounds
  • Antiperspirants
  • Vaccines