[Marbling] Cadmium Toxicity
- Thanks Milena......
And do you know that some vitamin/mineral mixtures...I believe coloidal
liquids, contain.....you got it....CADMIUM. It is a naturally occuring
substance. However, I think I will pass!! LOL!!! I am sure I have more cads
in my system than most, just from hanging around my studios for nearly 25
years. I am also a jeweler and some of the solders have cads too, not a
good thing to breathe while doing it....but one must breathe.Can't wear a
mask because it is more important to wear safety glasses and I haven't
found a way to prevent them from fogging.
Anyway, I figure since it's just myself down there, I will be as careful as
I can, and enjoy what I do without too much further worry. Likely the
jewelry is more harmful anyway....but I am addicted to both art forms, and
can't seem to stop.....
Here is some information about cadmium I found on the internet. I
got really sick in 1994 & was tested for heavy metal poisoning. The
tests showed that I was carrying a load of lead, arsenic, cadmium &
aluminum. A lot of this came from living with smokers and living on
a truck route for a lot of years when there was lead in gasoline. My
best guess on how I got the cadmium is that I have always done a lot
of gardening & I was really big on using super phosphate. Anyhow, I
went through some long term treatments to get rid of the load of
toxic metals that I had & I got well. I am still very sensitive to
chemicals & this is one reason why I settled on getting so involved
with marbling with acrylics as the exposure to toxins is really low
compared to other forms of art work. People keep wanting me to get
into dying my own fabric before I marble it & I'm not about to even
consider it. So be careful out there with your art work. Heavy metal
poisoning is sneaky; once it is in you it stays there & it builds up
over time until the load reaches critical mass & then you get sick.
This pamphlet provides answers to basic questions about cadmium. It
will explain what cadmium is, where it is found, how it can affect
your health, and what you can do to prevent or reduce exposure to it.
Cadmium is released into the environment from mining and metal
processing operations, burning fuels, making and using phosphate
fertilizers, and disposing of metal products. People living near
industry that conducts any of these activities may be exposed to
cadmium. Cadmium exposure at low levels usually does not produce
immediate health effects, but can cause adverse health effects over
WHAT IS CADMIUM AND HOW IS IT USED?
Pure cadmium is a soft, silver-white metal found naturally in small
amounts in soil. Cadmium usually combines with other things to form
different compounds. Some of these compounds affect the body more
than others. Cadmium does not have a definite taste or odor.
Cadmium is not mined, but it is a by-product of the smelting of
other metals such as zinc, lead, and copper. Cadmium is used in
nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries and for metal plating. It also
is used in some paints, plastics, and metal solders. Some metal
containers, such as ice cube trays, pitchers, or bowls can contain
small amounts of cadmium. Ceramicware also can contain some cadmium.
The principal industries that use cadmium are metal smelting,
electronics, nuclear power, paint pigment production, and other
metal working and refining companies.
HOW DOES CADMIUM GET INTO THE ENVIRONMENT?
Cadmium is found naturally in small quantities in air, water, and
soil. Since cadmium is a metal, it does not break down and can
accumulate over time. Burning household or industrial waste and
burning coal or oil may release cadmium into the air. Cadmium also
can be released from car exhaust, metal processing industries,
battery and paint manufacturing, and waste hauling and disposal
activities. Once cadmium is in the air, it spreads with the wind and
settles onto the ground or surface water as dust.
Higher levels of cadmium may be found in soil or water near
industrial areas or hazardous waste sites. High levels of cadmium in
surface soils usually result from cadmium particles settling from
the air. Soils near roads may contain high levels of cadmium from
car exhaust. Surface water also can contain low levels of dissolved
cadmium. Cadmium in water tends to sink and accumulate in bottom
HOW CAN I BE EXPOSED TO CADMIUM?
Cadmium can enter the body from smoking tobacco, eating and drinking
food and water containing cadmium, and inhaling it from the air.
People living near sources of cadmium or cadmium-related industries
may be exposed in all these ways. The skin does not easily absorb
Cigarettes contain cadmium, and smokers inhale cadmium when they
smoke. Breathing secondhand smoke is not believed to be a main
source of exposure to cadmium. For people who do not smoke, food is
the most common source of cadmium. Fruits and vegetables, especially
grains, potatoes, and leafy vegetables like spinach, grown in soils
with high levels of cadmium may contain elevated levels of cadmium.
Shellfish and organ meats like liver or kidney also contain more
cadmium than other foods.
If a community or home has extremely soft water, small amounts of
cadmium may move from metal water lines into drinking water. If you
use ceramicware or cadmium-plated metal containers such as ice cube
trays, pitchers, or bowls to prepare or store food and drinks, some
cadmium may move into the food or drinks. Also, hobbyists who make
jewelry, stained glass, or work with paints containing cadmium may
HOW DOES CADMIUM ENTER THE BODY?
The amount of cadmium that enters the body depends on how a person
is exposed. Cadmium compounds are not easily absorbed by the skin.
When you eat food or drink water containing cadmium, only a small
amount is absorbed by the body. Poor nutrition may increase how much
cadmium the body absorbs. Very small cadmium particles may reach the
air sacs deep within the lungs. If cadmium is a gas or fume, it is
even more easily absorbed. Once in the body, cadmium is stored
mainly in the bone, liver, and kidneys.
HOW CAN CADMIUM AFFECT MY HEALTH?
Cadmium has no beneficial effect on human health. Health effects
caused by cadmium depend on how much has entered the body, how long
you have been exposed to cadmium, and how the body responds.
Some workers who breathe air with high levels of cadmium over a
short time experience lung damage and even death. Breathing cadmium
in air does not usually cause immediate breathing problems or any
warning signs. Therefore, exposure may continue until serious lung
damage has occurred. Most cadmium levels found in the environment
are not high enough to cause lung damage. Breathing lower levels of
cadmium over several years can result in a buildup of cadmium in the
kidneys and lead to kidney disease. It also can cause bones to
become weaker. If you eat food or drink water that contains large
amounts of cadmium, stomach irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea may
result. Small amounts of cadmium taken in over many years may cause
kidney damage and fragile bones.
Female rats and mice fed diets high in cadmium have offspring with
low birth weight and improperly formed bones. Low birth weight also
has been found in women exposed to cadmium in the workplace.
Exposure to cadmium at normal environmental levels is not likely to
cause low birth weight infants. Rodents exposed to cadmium in air
have higher rates of lung cancer, liver damage, and changes in the
immune system. There is no evidence that cadmium causes cancer at
the low levels normally found in the environment.
IS THERE A TEST TO DETERMINE IF IF I HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO CADMIUM?
If you think you have been exposed to high levels of cadmium, you
should consult your physician immediately. Cadmium can be measured
in blood, urine, hair, nails, liver, and kidneys. Kidney and liver
function tests can be done to see if cadmium has damaged them. These
tests are often done in combination with other tests, such as a
HOW CAN I REDUCE MY EXPOSURE TO CADMIUM?
You need to be aware of the possible sources of cadmium to limit
your intake. Not smoking cigarettes and eating a nutritious diet
will help reduce exposure and prevent harmful effects. If your
drinking water comes from a private well near a source of cadmium,
you may want to have the water tested. Public water systems test for
cadmium on a regular basis. If you live near a source of cadmium,
you may want to have your garden soil tested for cadmium.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) limits the amount
of cadmium allowed in drinking water, lakes, rivers, landfills, and
cropland. USEPA does not allow cadmium in pesticides. The U.S. Food
and Drug Administration limits cadmium levels in food, and limits
the amount in ceramicware.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Illinois Department of Public Health
Division of Environmental Health
525 W. Jefferson St.
Springfield, IL 62761
TTY (hearing impaired use only) 800-547-0466
This pamphlet was supported in part by funds from the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act trust fund
through a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances
and Disease Registry, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.