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Cadmium is found in nature and is used in man-made products.

Cadmium is a metal found naturally in the earth's crust. It is usually found as a mineral combined with other elements such as oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur. Most soil and rocks, including coal and mineral fertilizers, contain some cadmium. Cadmium enters the environment through mining operations and the action of wind and rain. Forest fires and volcanoes also release some cadmium to the air. Cadmium is also used in many products, including batteries, pigments, metal coatings, and plastics. Cadmium is also present in cigarette smoke.

Cadmium can cause serious illness.

  • When ingested, large amounts of cadmium can severely irritate the stomach and cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Breathing high levels of cadmium damages the lungs and can cause death.
  • Exposure to low levels of cadmium in air, food, water, and particularly in tobacco smoke over time, may build up cadmium in the kidneys and cause kidney disease and bone fragility.
  • Cadmium is considered a cancer-causing agent, also known as a carcinogen.

There are many ways you can be exposed to cadmium:

  • Eating foods containing cadmium. Low levels of cadmium are present in all foods. The highest levels of cadmium are found in leafy greens, vegetables, legumes, and kidney meat.
  • Smoking cigarettes or breathing cigarette smoke. Cadmium is present in tobacco plants. People who smoke typically have twice the amount of cadmium in their bodies as people who do not smoke.
  • Breathing in air contaminated with cadmium.
  • Drinking water contaminated with cadmium.

Occupation, hobbies, and personal habits can lead to higher than average exposures to cadmium.
  • Workers in industries which produce or use cadmium have the greatest potential for cadmium exposure.
  • Hobbyists such as jewelry makers and artists may also be at increased risk for cadmium exposure.
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke can increase the body's cadmium burden.

A study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) from 1990 identified the types of workers who are potentially exposed to cadmium. Click here for the full list of these occupations.
To prevent or minimize further exposures to cadmium:
  • Stop smoking. Tobacco smoke contains cadmium which is absorbed into the body through the lungs.
  • Ensure adequate dietary iron consumption. People who are iron deficient will absorb more oral cadmium into their system.
  • Practice good occupational hygiene if involved in work with cadmium or in hobbies involving cadmium exposure such as jewelry making or paints using cadmium.
  • Prevent children from playing with batteries; dispose of nickel-cadmium batteries properly.


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Utah Tracking does not track cadmium data.
The links listed below redirect you to health assessments conducted in Utah that are relevant to cadmium. The Utah Department of Health and Human Services Utah APPLETREE program evaluates and responds to environmental public health issues in Utah. For more information, please visit the Utah APPLETREE website.

The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 15 April 2024 0:11:08 from Utah Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 30 Mar 2023 16:19:11 MDT