Scand J Work Environ Health 1998;24 suppl 1:1-51    pdf

Health effects of cadmium exposure -- a review of the literature and a risk estimate

by Järup L (, Berglund M, Elinder CG, Nordberg G, Vahter M

This report provides a review of the cadmium exposure situation in Sweden and updates the information on health risk assessment according to recent studies on the health effects of cadmium. The report focuses on the health effects of low cadmium doses and the identification of high-risk groups.

The diet is the main source of cadmium exposure in the Swedish nonsmoking general population. The average daily dietary intake is about 15 µg /day, but there are great individual variations due to differences in energy intake and dietary habits. It has been shown that a high fiber diet and a diet rich in shellfish increase the dietary cadmium intake substantially. Cadmium concentrations in agricultural soil and wheat have increased continuously during the last century. At present, soil cadmium concentrations increase by about 0.2% per year. Cadmium accumulates in the kidneys. Human kidney concentrations of cadmium have increased several fold during the last century. Cadmium in pig kidney has been shown to have increased by about 2% per year from 1984–1992. There is no tendency towards decreasing cadmium exposure among the general nonsmoking population.

The absorption of cadmium in the lungs is 10–50%, while the absorption in the gastrointestinal tract is only a few percent. Smokers have about 4–5 times higher blood cadmium concentrations (about 1.5 µg/l), and twice as high kidney cortex cadmium concentrations (about 20–30 µg/g wet weight) as nonsmokers. Similarly, the blood cadmium concentrations are substantially elevated in persons with low body iron stores, indicating increased gastrointestinal absorption. About 10–40% of Swedish women of child-bearing age are reported to have empty iron stores (S-ferritin

The following article refers to this text: 2001;27(3):161-213