Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Cancer and Cadmium

  • Tim S. Nawrot
  • Jan A. Staessen
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_797-2


Cadmium is a metal that has the symbol Cd and atomic number 48 in the periodic table. Cadmium has high toxic effects, an elimination half-life of 10–30 years, and accumulates in the human body, particularly the kidney. Roughly 15,000 t of cadmium is produced worldwide each year for nickel–cadmium batteries, pigments, chemical stabilizers, metal coatings, and alloys.


Urinary excretion of cadmium over 24 h is a biomarker of lifetime exposure. Exposure to cadmium occurs through intake of contaminated food or water, or by inhalation of tobacco smoke or polluted air. Occupational exposures can be found in industries such as electroplating, welding, smelting, pigment production, and battery manufacturing. Other exposures to cadmium can occur through inhalation of cigarette smoker. Gastrointestinal absorption of cadmium is estimated to be around 5–8 %. Inhalation absorption is generally higher, ranging from 15 % to 30 %. Absorption after inhalation of cadmium fume,...


Cadmium Concentration Lifetime Exposure Urinary Cadmium Cadmium Batterie Urinary Cadmium Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Lung Toxicology, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (T.S.N.) and the Studies Coordinating Centre (J.A.S.), Division of Hypertension and Cardiovascular Rehabilitation, Department of Cardiovascular DiseasesUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium