The Effects of Cadmium in the Human Organism

  • H. Roels
  • R. Lauwerys
Conference paper


This paper is a condensation of two reviews on the toxicity of cadmium in man and its health risk assessment recently published by our laboratory (Lauwerys et al. 1981a, 1982). Cadmium (Cd) is a naturally occurring element. So far little is known on its possible toxic effects on infants. For nonoccupationally exposed persons, the two main sources of cadmium are food and tobacco smoking; there is some intake and absorption from water and air, but this is usually of much less importance. Children living around cadmium emitting sources may also be exposed through direct ingestion of dirt containing cadmium (Buchet et al. 1980a). From food, the current average daily intake of cadmium for adults is estimated to be 20 µg with a range of from less than 10 µg up to 50 µg or more (Lauwerys 1978, 1979a). On average, 5% of this cadmium is absorbed, but this may be as high as 15% in certain cases, e.g. in persons with slight iron deficiency (Flanagan et al. 1978). Tobacco smoking is also an important source of cadmium intake. One cigarette may contain from 0.9 to 2.3 µg Cd. Estimates of absorption from this source range from 0.5 µg/day for someone smoking ten cigarettes a day up to 4.2 µg/day for a daily consumption of sixty cigarettes (Lauwerys 1978, 1981a).


Renal Dysfunction Renal Cortex Standard Mortality Ratio Body Burden Kidney Dysfunction 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Roels
  • R. Lauwerys

There are no affiliations available

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