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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The aluminium content of infant formulas remains too high

Nancy Chuchu1, Bhavini Patel1, Blaise Sebastian1 and Christopher Exley2*

Author Affiliations

1 Life Sciences, Huxley Building, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK

2 The Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratories, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK

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BMC Pediatrics 2013, 13:162  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-162

Published: 8 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Recent research published in this journal highlighted the issue of the high content of aluminium in infant formulas. The expectation was that the findings would serve as a catalyst for manufacturers to address a significant problem of these, often necessary, components of infant nutrition. It is critically important that parents and other users have confidence in the safety of infant formulas and that they have reliable information to use in choosing a product with a lower content of aluminium. Herein, we have significantly extended the scope of the previous research and the aluminium content of 30 of the most widely available and often used infant formulas has been measured.

Methods

Both ready-to-drink milks and milk powders were subjected to microwave digestion in the presence of 15.8 M HNO3 and 30% w/v H2O2 and the aluminium content of the digests was measured by TH GFAAS.

Results

Both ready-to-drink milks and milk powders were contaminated with aluminium. The concentration of aluminium across all milk products ranged from ca 100 to 430 μg/L. The concentration of aluminium in two soya-based milk products was 656 and 756 μg/L. The intake of aluminium from non-soya-based infant formulas varied from ca 100 to 300 μg per day. For soya-based milks it could be as high as 700 μg per day.

Conclusions

All 30 infant formulas were contaminated with aluminium. There was no clear evidence that subsequent to the problem of aluminium being highlighted in a previous publication in this journal that contamination had been addressed and reduced. It is the opinion of the authors that regulatory and other non-voluntary methods are now required to reduce the aluminium content of infant formulas and thereby protect infants from chronic exposure to dietary aluminium.