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Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 3211–3232 | Cite as

Environmental exposure to cadmium—a risk for health of the general population in industrialized countries and preventive strategies

Review Article

Abstract

Cadmium (Cd) is a heavy metal belonging to the group of the main chemical pollutants of the natural and occupational environment in economically developed countries. The forecasts indicate that contamination of the environment with this toxic metal, and thus the exposure of the general population, will increase. Food (particularly plant products) is the main source of the general population exposure to this element. Moreover, an important, and often the main, source of intoxication with Cd is habitual tobacco smoking. Recent epidemiological studies have provided numerous evidence that even low-level environmental exposure to this toxic metal, nowadays occurring in numerous economically developed countries, creates a risk for health of the general population. The low-level lifetime exposure to this metal may lead to the damage to the kidneys, liver, skeletal system, and cardiovascular system, as well as to the deterioration of the sight and hearing. Moreover, it has been suggested that environmental exposure to this xenobiotic may contribute to the development of cancer of the lung, breast, prostate, pancreas, urinary bladder, and nasopharynx. Taking the above into account, the aim of this review article is to draw more attention to Cd as an environmental risk factor for the health of the general population and the need to undertake preventive actions allowing to reduce the risk of health damage due to a lifetime exposure to this toxic metal.

Keywords

Biologically active compounds Cadmium Environmental exposure General population Health effects Risk for health Preventive agents Preventive strategies 

Abbreviations

AMD

Age-related macular degeneration

α1-MG

α1-Microglobulin

BMD

Bone mineral density

β2-MG

β2-Microglobulin

CAT

Catalase

Cd

Cadmium

Cd-MT

Complexes of cadmium with metallothionein

CI

Confidence interval

eGFR

Estimated glomerular filtration rate

FAO

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

EFSA

European Food Safety Authority

GM

Geometric mean

GPx

Glutathione peroxidase

GSD

Geometric standard deviation

MT

Metallothionein

NAG

N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase

OR

Odds ratio

OPG

Osteoprotegerin

PTMI

Provisional tolerable monthly intake

PTWI

Provisional tolerable weekly intake

RBP

Retinol binding protein

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

RR

Rate ratio

SD

Standard deviation

-SH groups

Sulfhydryl groups

sRANKL

Soluble receptor activator of nuclear factor-кB ligand

SOD

Superoxide dismutase

TWI

Tolerable weekly intake

WHO

World Health Organization

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ToxicologyMedical University of BialystokBialystokPoland

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