Cadmium in the environment and high risk population groups


Cadmium has been widely used in various industries for the past fifty years, with current world production standing at around 16,755 tonnes per year. Very little cadmium is ever recycled and the ultimate fate of all cadmium is the environment. In view of reports that cadmium in the environment is increasing, this thesis aims to identify population groups 'at risk' of receiving dietary intakes of cadmium up to or above the current Food and Agricultural Organisation/World Health Organisation maximum tolerable intake of 70 ug/day. The study involves the investigation of one hundred households (260 individuals) who grow a large proportion of their vegetable diet in garden soils in the Borough of Walsall, part of an urban/industrial area in the United Kingdom. Measurements were made of the cadmium levels in atmospheric deposition, soil, house dust, diet and urine from the participants. Atmospheric deposition of cadmium was found to be comparable with other urban/industrial areas in the European Community, with deposition rates as high as 209 g ha-1 yr-1. The garden soils of the study households were found to contain up to 33 mg kg-1 total cadmium, eleven times the highest level usually found in agricultural soils. Dietary intakes of cadmium by the residents from food were calculated to be as high as 68 ug/day. It is suggested that with intakes from other sources, such as air, adventitious ingestion, smoking and occupational exposure, total intakes of cadmium may reach or exceed the FAO/WHO limit. Urinary excretion of cadmium amongst a non-smoking, non-occupationally exposed sub-group of the study population was found to be significantly higher than that of a similar urban population who did not rely on home-produced vegetables. The results from this research indicate that present levels of cadmium in urban/industrial areas can increase dietary intakes and body burdens of cadmium. As cadmium serves no useful biological function and has been found to be highly toxic, it is recommended that policy measures to reduce human exposure on the European scale be considered.

Divisions: Aston University (General)
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cadmium,environment,soil,vegetables,toxicity
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2024 07:24
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2011 08:29
Completed Date: 1984-08
Authors: Tennant, C.J.


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