Cadmium is a toxic metal that
occurs naturally in the environment. . Humans are exposed to cadmium mostly
through plant-derived food. There is no safe margin of cadmium exposure and the
need to lower human exposure is desperate.
Cadmium (Cd) occurs in low concentration in all human diet and in
cigarettes. Cadmium is known as carcinogen because in excessive exposure, it may
give rise to renal, pulmonary, hepatic, skeletal, reproductive effects and
finally cause cancer. Previous evaluations (e.g., by WHO) have identified renal
dysfunction, occurring in long- term Cd exposure, as the critical effect. The
analysis acknowledges that most human cadmium exposure comes from ingestion of
food, and most of that arises from the uptake of cadmium by plants from
fertilizers, sewage sludge, manure and atmospheric deposition. .
In industry, it’s regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
and it has a very low permissible exposure level. Consuming polluted food is the
main source of cadmium intake for non-smokers. As if the reasons to quit smoking
weren’t high enough, higher cadmium level are found in smokers compared to
non-smokers. Other sources of cadmium exposure include nickel-cadmium batteries,
fumes from hazardous waste facilities, and fertilizers.
Commercially, Cd is used in television screens, lasers, batteries, paint
pigments, cosmetics, and in galvanizing steel, as a barrier in nuclear fission,
and was used with zinc to weld seals in lead water pipes prior to the 1960s.
Exposure to this toxic metal even affects the unborn before they’ve even joined
this world. Cadmium is well-known to cross the placenta and to accumulate in
fetal tissues. Prenatal exposure is a threat to the developing brain and results
in reduced birth weight and birth size.
Because of the prevalence of cadmium in industry and the environment,
completely eliminating exposure is a very difficult task but there are steps you
can take to reduce and counteract your exposure risks. Eat a healthy diet of
organically grown fruit, vegetables, and meat to decrease absorption of cadmium.
It may be a little more expensive, but your health is worth it. Get yourself
tested to determine the level of cadmium in your body.