• Michael J. Scoullos
  • Gerrit H. Vonkeman
  • Iain Thornton
  • Zen Makuch
Part of the Environment & Policy book series (ENPO, volume 31)


Cadmium is a Group lib element discovered in 1818 by Herman and Strohmeyer and named after the mythological hero Cadmus who founded Thebes in Greece. It was first extracted commercially in 1886 in Silesia. Its atomic weight is 112.41 (with natural isotopes ranging from 106 to 116). A soft, ductile, silver-white metal (described also as blue-white; Baud, 1962) with a distorted hexagonal structure. Its relative density is 8,642 g/ml3. Its melting point is at 321°C and its boiling point at 767 °C; a relatively ‘volatile’ metal. Cadmium is one of the rare elements in the earth’s crust having an average concentration of about 0.1 mgCd/kg (frequently in the region 100–500 ng/m3). Cadmium concentrations in seawaters near the coast have been reported to be within the range of 0.05 and more than 1 parts per billion (ppb) with an average of around 0.1 ppb (100 ng/m3). However, in the open sea the levels reported are from ≤ 0.01 to 0.05 ppb. Analyses in North Atlantic deep-sea sediments have shown average concentrations around 225 ppb while coastal sediments in polluted areas may be a few orders of magnitude higher. In freshwater, cadmium has the tendency to bind rather strongly to organic substances, especially in chlorophyll-containing plants. However, in the marine environment its predominant compounds are very labile ionic and chloro-complexes and tend to be associated with dissolved particulate phases.


Electric Vehicle Phosphate Rock Cadmium Content Cadmium Oxide Imperial Smelt Furnace 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Scoullos
    • 1
  • Gerrit H. Vonkeman
  • Iain Thornton
  • Zen Makuch
  1. 1.Division III Environmental and Marine Chemistry GroupUniversity of AthensAthensGreece

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