Background: Aluminum has recently been recognized as a causative agent in dialysis encephalopathy, osteodystrophy, and microcytic anemia occurring in patients with chronic renal failure who undergo long-term hemodialysis. Only a small amount of Al(III) in dialysis solutions may give rise to these disorders. Methods: Magnetic poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (mPHEMA) beads in the size range of 80-120 μm were produced by free radical co-polymerization of HEMA and ethylene dimethacrylate (EDMA) in the presence of magnetite particles (Fe3O4). Then, metal complexing ligand alizarin yellow was covalently attached onto mPHEMA beads. Alizarin yellow loading was 208 μmol/g. These beads were used for the removal of Al(III) ions from tap and dialysis water in a magnetically stabilized fluidized bed. Results: Al(III) adsorption capacity of the beads decreased with an increase in the flow-rate. The maximum Al(III) adsorption was observed at pH 5.0. Comparison of batch and magnetically stabilized fluidized bed (MSFB) maximum capacities determined using Langmuir isotherms showed that dynamic capacity (17.5 mg/g) was somewhat higher than the batch capacity (11.8 mg/g). The dissociation constants for Al(III) were determined using the Langmuir isotherm equation to be 27.3 mM (MSFB) and 6.7 mM (batch system), indicating medium affinity, which was typical for pseudospecific affinity ligands. Al(III) ions could be repeatedly adsorbed and desorbed with these beads without noticeable loss in their Al(III) adsorption capacity. Conclusions: Adsorption of Al(III) demonstrate the affinity of magnetic dye-affinity beads. The MSFB experiments allowed us to conclude that this inexpensive sorbent system may be an important alternative to the existing adsorbents in the removal of aluminium. © 2004 Yavuz et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.