Cadmium Poisoning: Causes, Signs & Symtoms, and Case Studies

A picture of Cadmium element and written Cadmium Poisoning created by Forensic Yard

Cadmium is a whitish color substance that is found within huge industrial areas. The prominent source of Cadmium is contended to be burning coal, and even the slightest intake or inhalation of this chemical compound can degrade our health conditions and lead to Cadmium Poisoning.

Cadmium Poisoning is caused when someone is exposed to vast amounts of Cadmium through the air, water, food substances, and soil. It’s extremely fatal and toxic even at the lowest concentration and leads to cancer alongside damaging other vital organs and tissues in the human body. In addition, it leaves a drastic effect on all the functioning systems of the body and slows down the overall growth.

This heavy toxic substance doesn’t break down nor deposit in the environment and is found in rechargeable batteries, fertilizers, mixed food products, pottery substances, paints and is also implemented in the electroplating procedures.

Causes of Cadmium Poisoning

  • The primary source of exposure is smoking products because these substances contain vast amounts of cadmium concentration, which is lethal for our health, and regular intake can drastically damage the lungs and kidneys. 
  • Some vendors and local shopkeepers tend to mix this component in minimum concentration within the green vegetables and cereals.
  • It’s also sold as a herb in China which is known as ‘Chuifong Tofan’.
  • The Shrink glasses of McDonald’s are also made up of Cadmium, and consuming alcohol from such glasses leads to heavy Cadmium toxicity.
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Signs and Symptoms of Cadmium Poisoning

IARC has concluded that Cadmium is a hazardous substance that is carcinogenic. Many of the human population gets exposed to it due to accidental exposure, which ultimately leads to various health issues.

  • It majorly affects the lungs and kidneys, leading to edema, emphysema, renal failure, hyperuricemia, and hypophosphatemia.
  • Affects the skeletal system and leads to osteoporosis and osteomalacia.
  • Food Poisoning is the other most prominent symptom which affects the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Other respiratory problems including bronchitis and interstitial pneumonitis.

Case Study of Cadmium Poisoning

  • Itai Itai is caused due to the exposure of Cadmium from certain rice products, which were formed due to human industrialization.
  • It was first observed in Japan (1960), where 50% of the population got infected due to the consumption of contaminated rice products produced by Guangdong industries. 
  • Cadmium was mixed within the rice products in minor concentration, measured approximately around less than 0.2 mg/kg. Its intake led to aftermaths that were extremely devastating and hazardous for humankind.
  • The rice was made up of contaminated river water, which consisted of industrial wastes released from the factories.
  • This disease led to osteoporosis and damaged several bony prominences of the human body.
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Diagnosis of Cadmium Poisoning

Doctors perform tests with proper supervision because cadmium toxicity is dangerous even at the lowest concentrations and hence requires proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Breast Milk with an average concentration of 0.3 ppb is used for the diagnosis of cadmium poisoning.
  • Repeated Haemodialysis (extremely severe cases). 
  • Blood Test is used to determine the level of cadmium toxicity in the body.
  • Measurement of Urine Concentration.

Treatment of Cadmium Poisoning

  • ‘Chelation Therapy’ though having relevant side effects, tends to treat lead poisoning and cadmium poisoning.
  • Smoking products comprise carcinogenic substances (Cadmium); hence people should avoid consuming these substances at the earliest.
  • Intake of Zinc should be included in the diet because it helps to remove the Cadmium from the tissues present in the body.
  • Vitamin C, Selenium, Glycine, Calcium, and Cysteine exhibit protective features, and its intake leads to the removal of cadmium toxicity from the body.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we would state that other heavy poisons affect the body when consumed in high concentrations. However, it’s the opposite with cadmium toxicity, and it affects the health even if inhaled or intake in minor concentrations.

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