About 43 percent of this age group eat 1.6 times the maximum daily consumption of aluminum suggested by the World Health Organization, according to a survey conducted by the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment under the Ministry of Health.
Children absorbed the hazardous substance mainly by eating puffed-grain foods, according to the study results, released on Thursday. Exposure to high levels of aluminum may result in respiratory and neurological problems.
Additives containing aluminum are widely used in China's food industry. Flour and flour products including steamed bread, fried dough sticks, and noodles are major sources of the element, said Chen Junshi, a senior expert with the center.
Such additives are allowed in food processing, but producers tend to use more than the required amount to boost taste, Chen added.
The survey also showed that people living in northern China consume 4.6 times the amount of aluminum taken in by people in southern China, due to the former's dietary preference for flour products.
The country's health authorities are considering stricter regulations on the use of 13 kinds of food additives containing aluminum, according to Chen.