Environmental Hazards of Aluminum to Plants, Invertebrates, Fish, and Wildlife

  • Donald W. Sparling
  • T. Peter Lowe
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 145)


Aluminum (Al) is the third most common mineral and the most common metal in Earth’s crust, accounting for approximately 8.1% of the crust by weight. Thus, it cannot be considered a contaminant in the usual sense of the word. However, despite its near omnipresence throughout the world, Al has been of major concern as a primary limiting factor to cultivated plants for several decades. In much of the world, Al severely restricts the growth and presence of plant species. Since the late 1970s, concern about Al toxicity has spread to natural habitats, most notably forests and aquatic communities. The primary impetus for this concern has been the increased awareness of the effects of anthropogenic acidification through mine drainage, acid deposition, and other sources. The toxicity of Al is intimately associated with pH in that the metal is soluble and biologically available in acidic (pH <5.5) soils and waters but relatively innocuous in circumneutral (pH 5.5-7.5) conditions. Forest die-offs and reduced survivorship or impaired reproduction of aquatic invertebrates, fish, and amphibians have been directly connected to Al toxicity. Indirect effects on birds and mammals also have been identified. The purpose of this review is to summarize the toxic effects of Al to populations and to evaluate the potential hazards to the communities in which these populations are found.


Rainbow Trout Atlantic Salmon Brown Trout Brook Trout Fathead Minnow 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald W. Sparling
    • 1
  • T. Peter Lowe
    • 1
  1. 1.National Biological ServicePatuxent Environmental Science CenterLaurelUSA

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