Toxin Profiles

Substance Name

Cadmium
Identification Number: CASRN | 7440-43-9

  Nastiness Attributes


  • Known Human Carcinogen

    This is a serious nasty substance. Exposure to this substance leads to cancer in Humans. Exercise extreme caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and very seriously consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Carcinogenic Properties

    Accumulating evidence points to cancer potential. Exercise caution with this substance, explore your exposure routes and consider complete avoidance. See further details under Toxins.

  • Endocrine Disrupter

    Interferes with your hormones. Hormones are powerful messengers that can bind to DNA. You don't want to mess with them.

  • Mutagenic Properties

    Cause mutations to Genetic material like DNA, RNA or mitochondrial DNA

  • Reproductive Effects

    Interferes with fertility

  • Birth/Developmental

    Known to effect development of fetus.

  • Metabolic Interference or Disruption

    Interferes with human metabolism. This can be a very serious thing. Some of these interference mechanics are well established. However, often long term effects and health consequences remain largely unknown. Additionally an emerging area of concern and one that is not currently studied, is the combined synergistic effects these metabolically disrupting chemicals have on human health.

    Metabolic interference happens when the substance produces highly reactive and often damaging intermediates during detoxification or when the substance binds to specific enzymes, important structural groups on molecules, receptors and membranes or targets DNA or mimics key nutrients.

  • Exposure Produces Health Symptoms

    Symptoms maybe short term or long term depending on the exposure duration and intensity and effects areas like Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Cognition, Fatigue. A substance with this attribute may cause an allergic skin reaction, serious eye irritation, allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled.

  • Serious Acute Effects

    This is a serious nasty substance. Effects are Acute (seen immediately). Substances in this category may be FATAL or acutely toxic if inhaled, skin contact or swallowed. See further details.

  • Toxic to specific organs

    Can damage liver, kidney, lungs, heart or gut. Ironically liver, kidneys and gut are the main detoxifications systems.

  • Toxic to Wildlife

    May kill plants, fish, birds or other animals and insects or may be very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects. This then effects delicate environmental ecology and food supply in ways we don't fully understand yet.


  • CATEGORIES: Pit Chemicals | Chemicals detected in flowback and produced water - collectively referred to as - hydraulic fracturing wastewater | Cigarette Toxin | Household Toxin | Industrial/Workplace Toxin | Pollutant | Airborne Pollutant | Food Toxin | Natural Toxin | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace
  • SUBSTANCE LINEAGE: Inorganic Compounds | Homogeneous Metal Compounds | Homogeneous Transition Metal Compounds | | Homogeneous Transition Metal Compounds
  • SYNONYMS: Cadmium ion | Cadmium(2+) | Cadmium(2+) ion | Cadmium(II) | Cadmium(II) cation | Cadmium(II) ion | Cd(2+) | Cd2+ | Metallic cadmium
  • DESCRIPTION: Has been used in CSG, Hydraulic Fracturing Operations (Fracking) as - Unknown | Cadmium (group IIB of the periodic table of elements) is a heavy metal. It is not a naturally occurring metal in biological systems. Cadmium poses severe risks to human health. Physiologically, it exists as an ion in the body. Up to this day, it has not been shown that cadmium has any physiological function within the human body. Interest has therefore risen in its biohazardous potential. As first described by Friedrich Stromeyer (Gottingen, Germany) in 1817, cadmium intoxication can lead to kidney, bone, and pulmonary damage. Cadmium is widely used in industrial processes, e.g as an anticorrosive agent, as a stabilizer in PVC products, as a colour pigment, a neutron absorber in nuclear power plants, and in the fabrication of nickel cadmium batteries. Phosphate fertilizers also show a big cadmium load. Although some cadmium containing products can be recycled, a large share of the general cadmium pollution is caused by dumping and incinerating cadmium polluted waste. In Scandinavia for example, cadmium concentration in agricultural soil increases by 0.2 percent per year. Total global emission of cadmium amounts to 7000 t/year. The maximum permissible value for workers according to German law is 15 ug/l. For comparison: Non-smokers show an average cadmium blood concentration of 0.5 ug/l. Basically there are three possible ways of cadmium resorption: Gastrointestinal, pulmonary and dermal. The uptake through the human gastrointestinal is approximately 5 percent of an ingested amount of cadmium, depending on the exact dose and nutritional composition. The major source of inhalative cadmium intoxication is cigarette smoke. The human lung resorbes 40 to 60 percent of the cadmium in tobacco smoke. Little research has been done on dermal absorption of cadmium. Two mechanisms facilitate cadmium absorption by the skin: binding of a free cadmium ion to sulfhydryl radicals of cysteine in epidermal keratins, or an induction and complexing with metallothionein. Once taken up by the blood, the majority of cadmium is transported bound to proteins, such as Albumin and Metallothionein. The first organ reached after cadmium uptake into the GI-blood is the liver. Here cadmium induces the production of Metallothionein. After consecutive hepatocyte necrosis and apoptosis, Cd-Metallothionein complexes are washed into sinusoidal blood. From here, parts of the absorbed cadmium enter the entero-hepatical cycle via secretion into the biliary tract in form of Cadmium-glutathione conjugates. Enzymatically degraded to cadmium-cysteine complexes in the biliary tree, cadmium reenters the small intestines. The main organ for long-term cadmium accumulation is the kidney. Here the half life period for cadmium is approximately 10 years. A life long intake can therefore lead to a cadmium accumulation in the kidney, consequently resulting in tubulus cell necrosis. The blood concentration of cadmium serves as a reliable indicator for a recent exposition, while the urinary concentration reflects past exposure, body burden and renal accumulation. Excretion of Cadmium takes place via faeces and urine. (A7670).
  • COMMENTS: From Safe Work Australia and the Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) in Australia: May cause cancer. Suspected of causing genetic defects. Suspected of damaging fertility. Suspected of damaging the unborn child. Fatal if inhaled. Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure . Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects. | Chronic Health Hazard Environmental Hazard Acutely Toxic | A Hazardous Substance that may be found in the Australian Workplace. Check with your employer or health and safety officer. Stay informed and become aware of the dangers that surround you. This chemical is included on the list of recognised hazardous chemicals from the Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) that is based on the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations are the basis for hazardous chemicals regulations in Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions in Australia. Under the model WHS Regulations, manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures and articles supplied for use in workplaces are required to determine whether they are hazardous to health and safety before supply. The model WHS Regulations mandate that the hazards of a chemical as determined by the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) must be included in safety data sheets and on labels. There are transitional arrangements in place for moving to the GHS-based system.The GHS Hazardous Chemical Information List contains chemicals classified by an authoritative source (such as the European Commission or NICNAS) in accordance with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (the GHS). This list contains the vast majority of chemicals currently in HSIS. This list and its detail are regularly updated by Work Safe Australia. The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations require chemicals to be classified in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However transitional arrangements allow use of classification information in HSIS derived from the Approved Criteria until the 31 December 2016.
  • toxin chemical structure pubchem
  • FORMULA: Cd
  • DATA SOURCES: DATA SOURCES: ARTICLE 4 | OEHHA | T3DB | PubChem | IARC | NTP | EPA_IRIS | Article-Colborn-2010 | EPA in USA | Safe Work Australia - Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS)
  • LAST UPDATE: 21/04/2015

  Health Associations

Mostly focused on Health Implications of Long Term Exposure to this substance

  • SYMPTOMS: Acute inhalation of cadmium fumes results in metal fume fever, which is characterized by chills, fever, headache, weakness, dryness of the nose and throat, chest pain, and coughing. Ingestion of cadmium causes vomiting and diarrhea. (L6)
  • POSSIBLE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES: Chronic exposure to cadmium fumes can cause chemical pneumonitis, pulmonary edema, and lung diseases such as bronchitis and emphysema. Cadmium also accumulates in the kidneys, causing permanent damage. Loss of bone density also occurs. (L6) | Cadmium is absorbed from oral, inhalation, and dermal routes. Cadmium initially binds to metallothionein and albumin and is transported mainly to the kidney and liver. Toxic effects are observed once the concentration of cadmium exceeds that of available metallothionein, and it has also been shown that the cadmium-metallothionein complex may be damaging. Cadmium is not known to undergo any direct metabolic conversion and is excreted unchanged, mainly in the urine. (L6)
  • ACTION OF TOXIN: Cadmium initially binds to metallothionein and is transported to the kidney. Toxic effects are observed once the concentration of cadmium exceeds that of available metallothionein, and it has also been shown that the cadmium-metallothionein complex may be damaging. Accumulation of cadmium in the kidney results in increased excretion of vital low and high molecular weight proteins. Cadmium is a high affinity zinc analog and can interfere in its biological processes. It also binds to and activates the estrogen receptor, likely stimulating the growth of certain types of cancer cells and causing other estrogenic effects, such as reproductive dysfunction. Cadmium causes cell apoptosis by activating mitogen-activated protein kinases. (L8, A18, A19, A28) | Cadmium binds to and activates the estrogen receptor, likely stimulating the growth of certain types of cancer cells and causing other estrogenic effects, such as reproductive dysfunction. (A19)
  • TOXIN SITES OF ACTION IN CELL: "Cytoplasm", "Extracellular"
  • Additional Exposure Routes: Cadmium is used mainly in the electroplating of other metals and the production of metal alloys. It can be found in batteries, pigments, metal coatings, and plastics. Exposure usually occurs in an industrial setting, but can also result from breathing cigarette smoke and eating contaminated foods. (L6)

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  Exposure Routes

These are the Exposure Routes we have so far for this substance. There are almost certainly more. We update this section regularly. The number of chemicals with 2 or more nastiness attributes in an exposure route is shown in orange. They grey badge shows the total amount of chemicals within the exposure route.


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