What is cadmium?

Cadmium is a natural element in the earth's crust. It is usually found as a mineral combined with other elements such as oxygen, chlorine or sulfur. Most cadmium used is extracted during the production of other metals like zinc, lead and copper. Cadmium does not corrode easily and has many uses, including batteries, pigments, metal coatings and plastics.

What are some occupations that put one at risk of being exposed to cadmium?

Some occupations where people may have cadmium exposures are jewelers and casting machine operators, although workers can also be exposed from welding cadmium-containing alloys or working with silver solders. Cadmium is also found in industrial paints and can be a hazard when sprayed or removed by scraping or blasting. Exposure to cadmium may also pose a health risk to the worker during battery manufacturing.

What are some other ways in which a person might be exposed to cadmium?

Non-occupational exposures typically occur from cigarette smoking or eating foods containing cadmium. Low levels of cadmium are found in all foods, but the highest levels can be found in shellfish, liver and kidney meats. Cadmium has also recently been traced to children's metal jewelry.

Related Links

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) provides health-related information and a summary of possible sources of cadmium exposure

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) provides information relevant to cadmium hazards in the workplace