Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 243–262 | Cite as

Environmental exposure to cadmium and factors affecting trace-element metabolism and metal toxicity

  • Jadwiga Chmielnicka
  • M. George Cherian
Orginal Articles Review


In the general population, food constitutes the major environmental source of cadmium (Cd) in nonsmokers. It is established that leafy vegetables, roots, and grains (wheat or rice) can accumulate relatively high amounts of Cd from the soil. Beef liver and kidney and shellfish are also major dietary sources of Cd. The daily intake of Cd in various parts of the world is different and depends on both the dietary habits and concentration of Cd in foodstuffs. Because of the long biological half-life of Cd in humans and absence of any specific indicators of its toxicity, the environmental exposure of Cd should be monitored in various countries. Although environmental Cd poisoning is rare, there are isolated reports on excessive exposure to Cd in Japan and Shipham, a zinc-mining town in England. The body retention and toxicity of Cd depends on various factors, such as daily intake, the form of Cd in food, its interactions with essential elements, and nutritional status of the population. Since kidney is considered a critical organ in Cd toxicity, the indicators of renal dysfunction have been widely used for evaluation of Cd poisoning in occupationally exposed people. It is unclear whether similar indicators can be used for monitoring environmental Cd exposure.

Index Entries

Cadmium in diet foodstuffs high cadmium content of metals nutritional deficiencies and gastrointestinal absorption of metals and nutrients interaction of renal dysfunction and monitoring of environmental cadmium exposure indicators of 


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Copyright information

© The Humana Press Inc 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jadwiga Chmielnicka
    • 1
  • M. George Cherian
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of Western Ontario, Health Sciences CentreLondonCanada

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