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Aluminum Contents of Human Milk, Cow's Milk, and Infant Formulas

Fernandez-Lorenzo, José R.*†; Cocho, José A.*; Rey-Goldar, M. Luz; Couce, Mariluz*; Fraga, José M.*†

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: March 1999 - Volume 28 - Issue 3 - p 270-275
Original Articles

Background: Aluminum toxicity is well documented and contamination of milk formulas has been implicated as the source of accumulation in bone and brain tissues. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the aluminum contents of human milk, cow's milk, and infant formulas.

Methods: Aluminum contents were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry in samples of human milk in the colostrum, intermediate, and mature stages; infant formulas from eight manufacturers; and various types and brands of commercially available cow's milk.

Results: Mean aluminum concentration was lowest in human milk (23.4 ± 9.6 µg/l), and did not differ significantly between colostrum, intermediate-stage and mature-stage milk. Mean aluminum concentration was 70 µg/l in cow's milk, and 226 µg/l in reconstituted infant formulas. Aluminum concentrations in infant formulas differed markedly among manufacturers; concentration in milk from one of the manufacturers was particularly high (mean, 551 µg/l; range, 302-1149 µg/l). These values are for milk reconstituted with aluminum-free water under laboratory conditions; formulas prepared with tap water in the University Hospital's infant-feeding unit had even higher aluminum content. Experiments showed that aluminum concentration in the high-aluminum milk could be reduced by more than 70% at the manufacturing stage, by using low-aluminum components.

Conclusions: The results of the present study support the recommendations for infant formula manufacturers to strive to reduce aluminum concentration in their products.

*Service of Neonatology and Metabolic and Nutritional Laboratory, Hospital Xeral de Galicia; †Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, University of Santiago Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Received September 25; revised July 9 and September 10, 1998; accepted September 14, 1998.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to J. R. F. Lorenzo, Division of Neonatology, Hospital Xeral de Galicia, C/ Galeras s/n 15705 Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.