ninety-fifth percentile was 2.5 g (81.7 mmol)/day in boys aged 14 through 18 years (see Appendix D), which is well below the UL of 4.0 g (130 mmol)/day. In 1986, approximately 10 percent of adults in the United States took a supplement containing phosphorus (Moss et al., 1989), and of those, the ninetieth percentile of supplemental phosphorus intake was 264 mg (8.5 mmol)/day. The ninety-fifth percentile intake for phosphorus supplements for adults was 448 mg (14.5 mmol)/day.

Risk Characterization

Phosphorus exposure data indicate that only a small percentage of the U.S. population is likely to exceed the UL. Because phosphorus supplements are not widely consumed, nor is the dosage high, total intake from diet plus supplements would infrequently exceed the UL.


  • The model that relates absorbed phosphorus intake to serum phosphorus must be evaluated in clinical studies using oral phosphorus intakes, and investigated in children and adolescents as well as adults.

  • Bone mineral mass as a function of dietary phosphorus intake should be investigated at all stages of the life cycle.

  • The practical effect of phosphate-containing food additives on trace mineral status (iron, copper, and zinc) should be evaluated.

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