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Cadmium Toxicity


Table of content

1. Introduction

2. Various ways expose to cadmium

3. Cadmium within the food chain

4. Who are at risk ?

5. To check and test cadmium level

6. Health effects associated with exposure to cadmium

7. Itai-Itai disease

8. To avoid cadmium exposure

9. Conclusion


  • Cadmium is a heavy metal produced during the melting of other metals, such as zinc-lead and copper. Cadmium is widely used in the manufacture of renewable nickel-cadmium batteries available on cell phones and wireless devices. It is also used to install metal roofing, paint, plastic, and fertilizer, and is found in cigarette smoke.
  • Cadmium exposure occurs mainly in the work where cadmium products are produced. Most people can be exposed to cadmium through tobacco smoke or by eating contaminated cadmium foods. Cadmium can affect the kidneys, lungs, and bones.

Various ways expose to cadmium

  • Smoking cigarettes contain cadmium and smokers inhale cadmium after they smoke. Smokers can double the daily dose of cadmium as non-smokers. folks that inhale smoke can even inhale cadmium.
  • Edible vegetables, like potatoes and leafy vegetables, and whole grains grown in contaminated soils with high levels of cadmium can contain a little amount of cadmium The kidneys and liver of animals and shellfish may contain higher levels of cadmium than other foods.
  • In industrial areas processes, like smelting metal, release cadmium into the air. Regulators are being founded within the industry to cut back emission rates and ensure public health protection.
  • In agricultural areas, fertile phosphate soils can contain higher levels of cadmium than unfermented soils.

Cadmium within the food chain-

  • From the soil, certain plants take up cadmium more avidly than they're doing other heavy metals like lead(Pb) and mercury(Hg). Smoking cigarettes is taken under consideration as vital to the source of human exposure to cadmium. In blood and kidney, Cd levels remain higher for smokers than non-smokers.
  • The smell from industrial exposure is going to be detected within the workplace. Cadmium exposure occurs through the introduction of contaminated foods like meats, leafy vegetables, water. Dirt and dietary supplements may also be a source of pollution.

Who are at risk ?

  • Battery production workers
  • Activities involving welding or folding
  • The person working at mines
  • Textile work
  • Manufacture or use of cadmium alloy
  • Manufactures of cadmium-containing materials, such as certain paints and plastics
  • Jewelry makers
  • Stained glass to be made
  • Staff to pick up the solid municipal waste.

To check and test cadmium level

There is no specific test for know cadmium level but one can do urine or blood tests after seeking advice from a doctor.

Health effects associated with exposure to cadmium-

1. Acute Poisoning

  • The system of respiration most affected by the inhalation of cadmium pollutants: Shortness of breath, lung edema, and destruction of the mucous membranes as a part of cadmium-induced pneumonitis.
  • As reported in 1942, eating foods contaminated with cadmium causes serious intestinal problems, like vomiting and diarrhea.

2. Kidney Damage

  • Kidney damage has long been described as a serious problem for patients exposed to cadmium. As mentioned above, cadmium reaches the kidneys within the style of cadmium-metallothionein (Cd-MT). Cd-MT is filtered out of the glomerulus and reabsorbed to nearby tubules.
  • It then resides within the tubule cells and forms an outsized portion of the cadmium body load. the quantity of cadmium within the cells of the kidney tubules increases during the lifetime of every individual.
  • Disruption of phosphorus and calcium metabolism thanks to this condition is within the discussion. The increased load of cadmium on the kidneys is additionally discussed to lead to higher calcium release, thus resulting in a greater risk of kidney stones.

3. Bone damage and also the Itai-Itai-disease

  • Cadmium can even be shown to be related to the emergence of Itai-Itai, a subcutaneous disease of patients with various symptoms such as:
  • Low bone mineral density, high degree of fracture, increased level of osteoporosis, and severe bone-related pain. a deadly disease of Itai-Itai disease was discovered during a lake within the Jinzu River (Japan) in the 1940s.

4. Carcinogenicity

  • Cadmium and its compounds are classified as carcinogenic, but there is no evidence that cadmium causes cancer at low levels found in the environment. Breathing cadmium into the air can cause lung cancer, but ingesting contaminated food or drink is not thought to cause cancer.

Itai-Itai disease-

'' Itai-Itai '' or ouch-ouch disease is first described in postmenopausal Japanese women who have high levels of cadmium in their lifetime through their diet.

Preventive measures-

a. Protection, protective clothing, and gloves.

b. Keeping the workplace clean and dust-free.

c. There is no smoking or drinking inside the workplace.

d. Wash hands thoroughly before smoking. eating, or drinking

e. Improving ventilation


To avoid cadmium exposure

  1. Avoid smoking
  2. Eat a balanced diet
  3. The job involves handling cadmium use protective equipment.
  4. Safe and effective reuse of cadmium
  5. Try to eliminate the use of cadmium in products such as toys, jewellery and plastics


  • Cadmium has toxic effects on the kidneys likewise as within the skeletal and respiratory systems. it's classified as an individual's carcinogen.
  • It's usually found in nature at lower levels; however, human activities have significantly increased levels of natural resources related to human exposure
  • Recent studies have proven the importance of reducing cadmium release in human health. Other efforts on this approach have been made.
  • Metallic cadmium is found in its minerals in a reduction form. It is very soft and highly toxic, which is why nickel-cadmium batteries are replaced by nickel-metal oxide.


For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Why cadmium rods are used in a nuclear reactor ?
    • To speed up neutrons
    • To absorb neutrons

Answer Key

  1. To absorb neutrons

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Monmohan Dowarah

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