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This document provides a critical assessment of health effects and public health risks associated with environmental exposure to cadmium (Cd). Sources and routes of exposure are discussed and identified. Dose-effect/response relationships and populations at special risk are delineated. Cadmium is naturally present in most environmental media. Major anthropogenic sources are: (1) smelting and mining, (2) certain manufacturing processes, and (3) waste disposal operations. Food is the largest environmental source for most humans, although Cd intake from smoking can equal or exceed Cd intake from food. Acute non-lethal exposure is associated with chronic respiratory effects. However, since most environmental exposures to Cd are of a long-term, low-level type, primary emphasis has been placed on discussing effects of such chronic exposure. Cadmium's accumulation in the kidney results in renal tubular dysfunction after many years of exposure. Estimates of the concentration of Cd in the renal cortex necessary to induce these effects and estimates of exposure necessary to produce the critical renal concentration vary widely, partially due to individual biological variability. Populations at special risk to Cd are cigarette smokers, as well as the older segments of the population (>50 years of age).
Grant, L., P. Mushak, A. Crocetti, AND W. Galke. Health Assessment Document for Cadmium. Final Report. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/8-81/023 (NTIS PB82115163), 1981.