Contaminant cause

Cadmium

Cadmium is a chemical element with symbol Cd and atomic number 48. This soft, bluish-white metal is chemically similar to the two other stable metals in group 12, zinc and mercury. Like zinc, it demonstrates oxidation state +2 in most of its compounds, and like mercury, it has a lower melting point than other transition metals. Cadmium and its congeners are not always considered transition metals, in that they do not have partly filled d or f electron shells in the elemental or common oxidation states. The average concentration of cadmium in Earth's crust is between 0.1 and 0.5 parts per million (ppm). It was discovered in 1817 simultaneously by Stromeyer and Hermann, both in Germany, as an impurity in zinc carbonate.

Cadmium occurs as a minor component in most zinc ores and is a byproduct of zinc production. Cadmium was used for a long time as a corrosion-resistant plating on steel, and cadmium compounds are used as red, orange and yellow pigments, to colour glass, and to stabilize plastic. Cadmium use is generally decreasing because it is toxic (it is specifically listed in the European Restriction of Hazardous Substances[4]) and nickel-cadmium batteries have been replaced with nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries. One of its few new uses is cadmium telluride solar panels.

Risk Factor
0 effects
Measured in mg

Caution

Cadmium is considered one of the most toxic environmental substances due to its ubiquity, toxicity, and long half-life. Exposure to cadmium occurs through inhalation (particularly in active cigarette smokers), water consumption, industrial exposure, and contaminated food (Table). Tobacco plants are highly efficient in absorbing cadmium from soil and accumulating it in the leaf. Therefore, any exposure to tobacco smoke leads to high exposure to cadmium, and smokers have cadmium levels that are at least twice as high as those of nonsmokers. High levels of cadmium can be found in vegetables, fruits, and grains, with the highest levels in greens and potatoes. Shellfish and organ meats contain elevated cadmium concentrations as well, and agricultural fertilizer has also been reported to contain cadmium

Cadmium Health Risks

OutcomesEffectEvidenceReferences

Mortality Musculoskeletal outcome
Mortality
Musculoskeletal

Strong Increase

Evidence: High

1 study

Coronary Heart Disease (Ischaemic Heart Disease) Cardiovascular outcome
Coronary Heart ...
Cardiovascular

Strong Increase

Evidence: High

1 study

Cardiovascular Disease Cardiovascular outcome
Cardiovascular ...
Cardiovascular

Strong Increase

Evidence: High

1 study

Stroke Brain outcome
Stroke
Brain

Strong Increase

Evidence: High

1 study

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