Cadmium in Ireland

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Cadmium poisoning has been reported from many parts of the world. It is one of the global health problems that affect many organs and in some cases it can cause deaths annually. Long-term exposure to cadmium through air, water, soil, and food leads to cancer and organ system toxicity such as skeletal, urinary, reproductive, cardiovascular, central and peripheral nervous, and respiratory systems. Cadmium levels can be measured in the blood, urine, hair, nail and saliva samples. Patients with cadmium toxicity need gastrointestinal tract irrigation, supportive care, and chemical decontamination traditional-based chelation therapy with appropriate new chelating agents and nanoparticle-based antidotes. Furthermore it has been likewise recommended to determine the level of food contamination and suspicious areas, consider public education and awareness programs for the exposed people to prevent cadmium poisoning.

Cadmium (Cd) is one of the most toxic metal ions of our environment and is found in air, food and water. Cd ions are absorbed by most tissues of the body and become concentrated mainly in liver and kidney and it has a long biological half-life of 11 to 20 years in humans [161]. Cadmium is listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of 126 priority pollutants. The most dangerous characteristic of cadmium is that it accumulates throughout a lifetime. Chronic human exposure to Cd results in renal dysfunction, anemia, hepatic dysfunction, osteotoxicities, and cancer in multiple organs, potentially including the kidney [162,163]. Because of its carcinogenic properties, cadmium has been classified as a #1 category human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France [164]. Cadmium is a potent human carcinogen and has been associated with cancers of the lung, prostate, pancreas, and kidney. Cadmium can cause osteoporosis, anemia, non-hypertrophic emphysema, irreversible renal tubular injury, eosinophilia, anosmia and chronic rhinitis. Cd-induced nephrotoxicity is clearly the most important and the most frequently occurring ailment in humans as a result of chronic exposure to the metal [165].


Exposure to elevated levels of the four legislative metals monitored under CAFE obligation can have various health impacts as detailed below (EEA, 2014):  Arsenic – human carcinogen  Cadmium – human carcinogen. Inhalation is a minor part of total exposure, but ambient levels are important for deposition in soil and, thereby, dietary intake.  Nickel – human carcinogen  Lead  ‐ Can affect almost every organ and system, especially the nervous and cardiovascular systems. It may also have adverse cognitive effects in children and lead to increased blood pressure in adults.

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