Cadmium Toxicity

Cadmium Toxicity

What is cadmium toxicity (cadmium poisoning)? — Cadmium toxicity is a serious medical problem that happens when cadmium gets into your body. It can cause problems with the kidneys, bones, and lungs. The word "toxic" means poisonous.
Cadmium is a metal that can be in many common things. These include:
Metal objects
Cigarettes
Paint
Batteries
Fertilizer
Food – Foods can be toxic if they grow in soil with cadmium in it. Grain, rice, and vegetables are some foods that pick up cadmium easily from the soil where they grow.
Cadmium can also get into the air. This is happens most often around mines, smelters (places that melt down metal), and factories that use cadmium to make products such as batteries. People who work in mines or factories that use cadmium have a higher risk of cadmium toxicity than other people. People who live near a mine, factory, or farm that uses a lot of cadmium can also be at higher risk.
What are the symptoms of cadmium toxicity? — Cadmium toxicity can happen slowly or quickly. If it happens slowly, it might not cause any symptoms at first. But cadmium can build up inside the body over time. After years of being around it, symptoms can include:
Urinating more often than usual
Kidney stones – Small stones that form inside the kidneys
Bones that break easily
Lung problems
Cadmium toxicity can happen all of a sudden if a person breathes in smoke or dust with a lot of cadmium in it. If this happens, it can cause severe lung problems. A person can get very sick right away and even die.
Is there a test for cadmium toxicity? — Yes. The doctor or nurse will do an exam and learn about your symptoms. He or she can also do the following tests:
Urine tests – These can show:
•Cadmium that has built up in the kidneys over time
•How well the kidneys are working – People with cadmium toxicity have more of certain proteins in their urine. They also have more calcium in their urine. These can be signs that the kidneys are not working as well as they should be.
Blood tests – These can show cadmium in your blood.
Bone density tests – These tests use special X-rays to measure your bones. If you have cadmium toxicity, your bones might be thinner and weaker than they should be.
How is cadmium toxicity treated? — There is no good treatment for cadmium toxicity or the health problems it can cause. If your kidneys stop working completely, you might need to have your blood filtered by a machine. This treatment is called "hemodialysis," but many people just call it "dialysis." The machine takes over the kidneys' job of getting rid of waste in the blood.
If you breathe in a lot of cadmium at once, you will get treatment in the hospital. This usually happens in the intensive care unit (called "ICU," for short). If you are having a hard time breathing, doctors can put a tube in your throat to help you breathe. The tube goes down the throat and into the lungs. The other end is attached to a machine that helps with breathing.
If you eat something that has a lot of cadmium in it, you might have a treatment called "chelation" therapy. This involves taking a medicine that helps pull cadmium out of the body. But doctors give this medicine only if they are sure that you are no longer being exposed to cadmium. And getting cadmium toxicity from food does not happen very often.
If the cadmium toxicity causes weak or soft bones, the doctor might prescribe large doses of vitamin D and other medicines to make bones stronger.
Can cadmium toxicity be prevented? — You can reduce your chances of getting cadmium toxicity by:
Not smoking – Smoking cigarettes raises your risk of cadmium toxicity.
Eating food grown in soil without a lot of cadmium
Using fertilizers that do not have cadmium in them – Check the label on fertilizer you use in your yard or garden.
Asking your supervisor how to stay away from cadmium at work, if you work in:
•A factory that uses cadmium
•A farm that uses fertilizers
•A place that treats sewage (liquid waste) or garbage (solid waste). Sewage or garbage can have cadmium in it.
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 83756 Version 3.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
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