Level of cadmium in the environment
Cadmium levels in the environment vary widely. Cadmium emissions to the environment are normally transported continually between the three main environmental compartments, air, water and soils, but a steady state flux is probably achieved and the general levels can reasonably well be established.
Cadmium is a natural element, that is present in the environment as a result of different sources: natural and anthropogenic
EU27 average cadmium content of top soil is 0.14 mg Cd/kg of soil
Sources of cadmium to soil and water in the EU
Sources of cadmium to soil
Sources of cadmium to river waters
Cadmium in EU soils is decreasing
Sources of antropogenic cadmium releases to air and water
In 1990, annual cadmium releases in Europe were above 200 t/y.
Over the past decade, Cd release to the environment dropped from 40 to 20 t/y and has become similar to the natural emissions of Cd.
In 2017, non-ferrous metal sector contributed only 4% to total industrial releases.
Ref.: E-PRTR database 2019
Total EU Cd release: 24.341kg
Ref.: E-PRTR database 2017
Example: Cadmium pollution in river Rhine has dropped to natural background levels
Cadmium into river Rhine. (Ref.: E-PRTR 2014)
DE: 0.32 t/y
NL: 0.02 t/y
Cadmium levels in river Rhine. (Ref.: E-PRTR 2010)
total Cd: <0.1 µg/L
diss. Cd: <0.05 µg/L