Awareness of cadmium toxity started in 1955 when Itai-itai disease was related to cadmium polluted Jinzu River basin in Japan. The main characteristics of the disease are a bone disease accompanied by severe bone pain and renal tubular dysfunction. Ever since, thousands of studies have been conducted to explore toxicity of cadmium and the importance of the different exposure pathways were identified. As a result of this awareness, actions were taken by industry to tackle both emissions to the environment and exposure of workers.
Pathways of cadmium exposure and effective monitoring
Human beings are exposed to Cadmium through the diet and smoking. Dietary exposure has decreased and is below risk levels
Exposure of workers in the Cd industry is strictly controlled to below-risk levels
Exposure levels in the workplace have decreased over years. Although monitoring according to EN 689 suggest 60% of worker is exposed at concentration above 1µg Cd/m³ respirable air, the geometric mean assessment shows only 10-15% workers are above that level of exposure while only 1% is exposed to levels >4µg Cd/m³. (Ref.: ICdA biomonitoring)