Monday's Beijing News reported on a survey by the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which found that 40 percent of food products in China contained more aluminium than national standards stipulate.
The newspaper said the CDC investigated foods in 12 provinces and autonomous regions, though it did not report when, and that many contained 2 to 9 times more aluminium than recommended.
The source was thought to be acid salts used along with yeast powder as a leavening agent in a variety of foods including deep-fried twisted dough sticks (a popular breakfast food), deep-fried snacks, steamed buns, cakes, breads and cookies.
The paper said people in China consume an average of 34 milligrams of aluminium daily, within WHO limits for adults but potentially dangerous for children.
"Too much aluminium can cause neurological diseases and a loss of calcium," Yu Kang, a professor at Beijing Union Medical College Hospital was quoted as saying.
A diet high in aluminium "can hinder a child's intellectual development and physical growth," Yu added.
Wang Lin from the CDC's Nutrition Department said foods should be made using natural, aluminium-free leavening agents, and people should not eat too many foods that could contain them.
(Xinhua News Agency, China.org.cn December 13, 2005)