Cadmium pp 135-177 | Cite as

Effects of Cadmium Exposure in Humans

Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 80)


Cadmium is an occupational and environmental contaminant which has received a great deal of attention in the last few years. This concern about the potential hazards of cadmium for human health appears justified in view of the biologic properties of this element. An important toxicologic feature of cadmium is its exceptionally long biologic half-life in the human organism (10–30 years). Evolution has not provided humans with a metabolic pathway for the elimination of this metal. Once absorbed, cadmium is efficiently retained in the organism in which it accumulates throughout life. In the newborn, cadmium is nearly absent, but at the age of 50 years, the cadmium body burden may increase up to 20–30 mg and in people occupationally exposed, it may reach values as high as 200–300 mg. Furthermore, cadmium concentrates in vital organs, particularly in the kidneys. Under low levels of exposure, such as occur in the general environment, 30%-50% of the cadmium body burden is found in the kidneys alone.


Renal Cortex Cadmium Concentration Cadmium Exposure Cadmium Level High Molecular Weight Protein 
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