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Aluminium is the most abundant metallic element in the Earth's crust, with a proportion of around 8% by weight, and the third most abundant of all elements. Due to its reactive nature it does not exist in nature as free elemental metal, rather it occurs in hundreds of different minerals. Based on its ubiquitous occurrence existing data clearly demonstrate that the present natural background concentration far outweighs anthropogenic contributions of aluminium to the terrestrial environment, i.e. to soils and subsoils. A census of the available data reveals that the relative contribution of anthropogenic aluminium to the natural occurring aluminium in soils and subsoils is negligible.

Exposure of soil dwelling organisms and plants to aluminium of geogenic and anthropogenic origin is expected to be high. However, it is known that the bioavailablity of aluminium is low and that the excretion of aluminium is fast. Therefore, bioaccumulation of aluminium is rarely observed in nature (WHO, 1997). Thus the risk of terrestrial bioaccumulation of aluminium is expected to be low.