Using atomic absorption spectrometry the aluminium concentrations in blood and urine and in two iliac bone biopsies obtained from welders with long term exposure to fumes containing aluminium were measured. The urinary excretion of two workers who had welded for 20 and 21 years varied between 107 and 351 micrograms Al/l, more than 10 times the concentration found in persons without occupational exposure. Urinary aluminium excretion remained high many years after stopping exposure. Blood and bone aluminium concentrations (4-53 micrograms Al/l and 18-29 micrograms Al/g respectively) were also raised but not to the same extent as urine excretion. It is concluded that long term exposure to aluminium by inhalation gives rise to accumulation of aluminium in the body and skeleton of health persons, and that the elimination of retained aluminium is very slow, in the order of several years.
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