Due to their serious adverse effects on human health, Cd and its compounds are subject to multiple regulations at the state, federal, and international levels.
EPCRA: Reportable under TRI, Subject to Tier II reporting requirements.
CAA: Hazardous air pollutant.
RCRA: Cadmium is a hazardous waste under RCRA under several circumstances.
Occupational exposures: The OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) for airborne exposure to Cd for an eight-hour work shift is 5 μg/m3. OSHA includes Cd on its list of known human carcinogens.
SDWA: The maximum contaminant limit set for drinking water is 0.005 mg/L.
FDA: The FDA limits the amount of Cd in food colors to 15 parts per million (15 ppm).
Massachusetts - Environmental and Public Health: Ambient air guidelines for Cd - Threshold Effects Exposure Limit of 0.003 μ g/m3 (24-hour average), Allowable Ambient Limit is 0.001 μ g/m3. Drinking water standard (acceptable daily intake over a lifetime exposure) is 0.005 mg/L.
Cadmium and Cd compounds are regulated as carcinogens, and Cd is regulated as a male developmental toxicant, under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxics Enforcement Act (Proposition 65).
The Dangerous Substances Directive (76/769/EEC) prohibits the use of Cd and its compounds in finished plastic products, in paints, as a stabilizer in PVC products (except where required for safety reasons), and for plating metallic products or components in a variety of sectors. In addition, those Cd compounds that are listed as carcinogens are restricted for use in “substances and preparations placed on the market for sale to the general public.”
As part of its REACH regulation, the European Union (EU) restricts the placement of finished articles colored with cadmium if their cadmium content exceeds 0.01 % Cd by mass of the plastic material. This restriction does not affect products when the use of Cd pigments relates to a safety issue.
Cadmium is one of the six chemicals regulated under the Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS), which applies to electrical and electronic equipment sold in the EU. Under RoHS, the maximum allowable concentration of Cd by weight in a homogeneous material is 0.01%.
Endnotes: Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act data. 2007; Toxics Use Reduction Institute, Summary of Policy Analysis, Higher Hazard Substance Designation Recommendation: Cadmium (CAS # 7440-43-9) and Cadmium Compounds; List of TRI Chemicals; Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA, 1910, subpart Z, 1910.1027; ASTDR ToxFAQs for Cadmium, 1999; Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety, M. “Right-to-Know” Law (MGL 111F), Workplace Regulation (454 CMR 21.00); Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Revised Air Guidelines; Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Standards and Guidelines for Contaminants in Massachusetts Drinking Waters, 2007, Massachusetts Hazardous Waste regulations, 310 CMR 30.125, Maximum Concentration of Contaminants for Toxicity Characteristic; California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65); European Community; Council Directive on the Approximation of the Laws, Regulations and Administrative Provisions of the Member States Relating to Restrictions on the Marketing and Use of Certain Dangerous Substances and Preparations (76/769/EEC); European Union. Regulation EC No 1907/2006, Annex XVII, 18 December 2006.