Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cadmium as an metallohormone

I know, i know - a WHAT?!?

here is the article:

No margin of safety for cadmium

A large portion of non-smoking adults have urinary cadmium concentrations that are near, at, or even above those at which epidemiological studies have shown kidney damage, adverse bone effects, and increased risk of cancer and death. Smokers generally have even higher cadmium levels.

While cadmium has no known physiological function, laboratory studies have found it to be a potent metallohormone that functions biologically as an estrogen and an androgen. It has been suggested that increased exposure to cadmium and other metalloestrogens could explain as much as 30 percent of breast and prostate cancers. Also increased environmental exposures to such metals over the last half century may explain a large portion of the increased rates of these cancers in developed countries.

This situation indicates that there is no margin of safety between the point of departure and exposure levels in the general population. Measures should be put in place to reduce cadmium exposure to a minimum.

Cadmium is used in galvanizing and electroplating, in batteries, in electrical conductors, in the manufacture of alloys, pigments, and plastics, and in the stabilization of phosphate fertilizers. It is also a prevalent environmental contaminant due to its release from metal smelters. In the general population, exposure to cadmium occurs primarily through food, cigarette smoking, and, to a lesser degree, drinking water. Occurrence in food comes through atmospheric deposition of the airborne cadmium, mining activities and the application of cadmium-containing fertilizers and sewage sludge (biosolids) on farm land.


Byrne, C., S. D. Divekar, et al. (2009). "Cadmium - a metallohormone?" Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology In Press, Accepted Manuscript.

Järup, L. and A. Åkesson (2009). "Current status of cadmium as an environmental health problem." Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 238(3): 201-208.