Blood and Hair Aluminum Levels, Vaccine History, and Early Infant Development: A Cross-Sectional Study

Acad Pediatr. 2018 Mar;18(2):161-165. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2017.09.003. Epub 2017 Sep 14.


Objective: To evaluate relationships between whole blood (B-Al) and hair aluminum (H-Al) levels in healthy infants and their immunization history and development.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 9- to 13-month-old children recruited from an urban primary care center, excluding those with a history of renal disease or receipt of either aluminum-containing pharmaceuticals or parenteral nutrition. Aluminum levels were measured using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Correlation with Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition (BSID) and vaccine-related aluminum load was assessed via linear regression models.

Results: The median age of 85 participants was 287 days. B-Al (median, 15.4 ng/mL; range, 0.9-952 ng/mL) and H-Al (median 42,542 ng/g; range, 2758-211,690 ng/g) were weakly correlated (Spearman ρ = 0.26; P = .03). There was no significant correlation between B-Al or H-Al and estimated aluminum load from vaccines. B-Al was not correlated with BSID composite or subscale scores. Although H-Al was not correlated with BSID scores in models including all data (n = 85), it was inversely correlated with motor composite (P < .02; Wald = 5.88) and the gross motor subscale (P = .04; Wald = 4.38) in models that excluded an extreme outlying H-Al value.

Conclusions: Infant B-Al and H-Al varied considerably but did not correlate with their immunization history. Likewise, there was no correlation between B-Al and infant development or between H-Al and language or cognitive development. An inverse correlation between H-Al and BSID motor scores deserves further investigation.

Keywords: aluminum biomarkers; aluminum toxicity; immunizations; metals toxicity; neurodevelopment; vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / analysis
  • Aluminum / blood*
  • Aluminum / metabolism
  • Child Development*
  • Cognition
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Motor Skills
  • Spectrophotometry, Atomic
  • Vaccines / therapeutic use*


  • Vaccines
  • Aluminum