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Cadmium Toxicity

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(Cadmium Poisoning)



Eating food or drinking water contaminated with high levels of cadmium can result in:
Breathing in cadmium can result in:
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as body aches, chills, weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the nose, pharynx, and larynx—with chronic inhalation
Lung Damage from Toxic Inhalation
Lung infection chemical inhalation
The damaged lung tissue (bottom) has a buildup of green mucus and thickened walls compared to healthy tissue (top).
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
There is no conclusive evidence that cadmium can cause lung cancer but, as a precaution, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified cadmium as a probable carcinogen in humans.


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

United States Environmental Protection Agency


Health Canada

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety


Cadmium compounds. Environmental Protection Agency website. Available at: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/cadmium.html. Revised January 2000. Accessed April 3, 2013.

Cadmium poisoning. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated May 11, 2010. Accessed April 3, 2013.

Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Textbook of Internal Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2008.

Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 16th ed. McGraw Hill; 2005.

Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine. 7th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc.; 2009.

Public health statement for cadmium. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry website. Available at: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=46&tid=15. Updated September 2012. Accessed April 3, 2013.

Safety and health topics: cadmium. US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration website. Available at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/cadmium/. Accessed April 3, 2013.

ToxFAQs for cadmium. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry website. Available at: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=47&tid=15. Updated April 2, 2013. Accessed April 3, 2013.


Revision Information

Review Date: 02/2014
  • Update Date: 03/18/2013