, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 581–587 | Cite as

Environmental cadmium exposure, adverse effects and preventive measures in Japan

  • Koji Nogawa
  • Etsuko Kobayashi
  • Yasushi Okubo
  • Yasushi Suwazono


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.

allowable limit cadmium dose-response relationship health effect mortality 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Hayano M, Nogawa K, Kido T, Kobayashi E, Honda R, Tsuritani I. 1996 Dose-response relationship between urinary cadmium con-.587 centration and â 2-micro-globulinuria using logistic regression analysis. Arch Environ Health 51, 162–167.Google Scholar
  2. Ishihara T, Kobayashi E, Okubo Y, Suwazono Y, Kido T, Nishijo M, Nakagawa H, Nogawa K. 2001 Association between cad-mium concentration in rice and mortality in the Jinzu River basin, Japan. Toxicology 163, 23–28.Google Scholar
  3. Ishizaki M, Kido T, Honda R, Tsuritani I, Yamada Y, Nakagawa H, Nogawa K. 1989 Dose-response relationship between urinary cadmium and â 2-microglobulin in a Japanese environmentally cadmium exposed population. Toxicology 58, 121–131.Google Scholar
  4. Kido T, Honda R, Tsuritani I, Ishizaki M, Yamada Y, Koji N. 1988 Progress of renal dysfunction in inhabitants environmentally exposed to cadmium. Arch Environ Health 43, 213–217.Google Scholar
  5. Kido T, Nogawa K, Ishizaki M, Honda R, Tsuritani I, Yamada Y, Nakagawa H. 1990 Long-term observation of serum creatinine and arterial blood pH in persons with cadmium-induced renal dysfunction. Arch Environ Health 45, 35–41.Google Scholar
  6. Kido T, Shaikh ZA, Kito H, Honda R, Nogawa K. 1991 Dose-response relationship between dietary cadmium intake and metallothioneinuria in a population from a cadmium-polluted area in Japan. Toxicology 66, 271–278.Google Scholar
  7. Kobayashi E. 1982 An epidemiological study on the health effects of environmental cadmium. (Part 1) Some urinary findings by sex and age. Jan J Pub Health 29, 123–133 (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  8. Matsuda K, Kobayashi E, Okubo Y, Suwazono Y, Kido T, Nishijo M, Nakagawa H, Nogawa K. Association between total cadmium intake and mortality among residents in the cadmium-polluted Jinzu river basin, Japan. Arch Environ Health(in press).Google Scholar
  9. Matsuda T, Kobayashi E. Okubo Y. Suwazono Y. Kido T. Nishijo M. Nakagawa H. Nogawa K. 2002 Association between renal dys-function and mortality among inhabitants in the region around the Jinzu River basin polluted by cadmium. Environ Res 88, 156–163.Google Scholar
  10. Ministry of Health and Welfare. 1972 Opinion of the Welfare Min-istry with regard to 'Itai-itai' disease in Toyama Prefecture, May 8, 1968a. in Environmental Agency (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  11. Nakagawa H, Nishijo M, Morikawa Y, Senma M., Kawano S, Ish-izaki M, Sugita N, Nishi M, Kido T, Nogawa K. 1993 Urinary â 2-microglobulin concentration and mortality in a cadmium-polluted area. Arch Environ Health 48, 428–435.Google Scholar
  12. Nakashima K, Kobayashi E, Nogawa K, Kido T, Honda R. 1997 Concentration of cadmium in rice and urinary indicators of renal dysfunction. Occup Environ Med 54, 750–755.Google Scholar
  13. Nogawa K, Ishizaki A, Kobayashi E. 1979 A comparison between health effects of cadmium and cadmium concentration in urine among inhabitants of Itai-itai disease endemic district. Environ Res 18, 397–409.Google Scholar
  14. Nogawa K, Honda R, Kido T, Tsuritani I, Yamada Y, Ishizaki M, Yamaya H. 1989 A dose-response analysis of cadmium in the general environmental with special reference to total Cd intake limit. Environ Res 48, 7–16.Google Scholar
  15. Nogawa K, and Kido T. 1996 Itai-itai disease and health effects of cadmium. In: Chang LW, ed. Toxicology of metals.NewYork: CRC; 353–369.Google Scholar
  16. Nogawa K 1981 Itai-itai disease and follow-up studies. In: Jerome O Nriagu, ed., Cadmium in the environment. Part II Health effects. New York. John Wiley & Sons; 1–37.Google Scholar
  17. Osawa T., Kobayashi E, Okubo Y, Suwazono Y, Kido T, Nogawa K. 2002 A retrospective study on relation between renal dysfunction and cadmium concentration in rice in individual hamlets in the Jinzu River basin, Toyama Prefecture. Environ Res 86, 51–59.Google Scholar
  18. Suwazono Y, Kobayashi E, Nogawa K, Okubo Y, Kido T, Nak-agawa H. 2000 Renal effects of cadmium exposure in cadmium nonpolluted areas in Japan. Environ Res 84, 44–55.Google Scholar
  19. Toyama Prefecture Department of Health. 1976 Present status of pollution of soil and its countermeasure. In: White Paper on Environmental Pollution. Toyama: 128–135 (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  20. Watanabe Y, Kobayashi E, Okubo Y, Suwazono Y, Kido T, Nogawa K. 2002 Relationship between cadmium concentration in rice and renal dysfunction in individual subjects of the Jinzu River basin determined using a logistic regression analysis. Toxicology 172, 93–101.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Koji Nogawa
    • 1
  • Etsuko Kobayashi
    • 1
  • Yasushi Okubo
    • 1
  • Yasushi Suwazono
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine (A2)Chiba UniversityChibaJapan

Personalised recommendations