, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 581-587

Environmental cadmium exposure, adverse effects and preventive measures in Japan

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In Japan the most heavily cadmium (Cd)-polluted region is the Jinzu river basin, where Itai-itai disease is endemic and the Kakehashi river basin is the second most polluted region.. The village average Cd concentrations in rice were distributed in the range between 0.02 μg/g and 1.06 μg/g in the Jinzu river basin and 0.11 μg g and 0.67 μg g in the Kakehashi river basin. Severe renal damage has occurred widely in the Jinzu river basin. Even after Cd exposure had ceased, renal dysfunction became worse. Dose-response relationships between Cd exposure and health effects were clearly demonstrated in both regions. The allowable limits (according to the present authors' assessment) of Cd concentrations in rice were estimated to be 0.08 μg g to 0.13 μg g and approximately 2 g for total Cd intake. Renal dysfunction caused by exposure to Cd was associated with an increased mortality in both regions. The increased total Cd intake and high concentration of Cd in rice also exerts an adverse influence on life prognosis.