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Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds Fact Sheet

This fact sheet is part of a series of chemical fact sheets developed by TURI to help Massachusetts companies, community organizations and residents understand the chemical's use and health and environmental effects, as well as the availability of safer alternatives. Since Massachusetts companies report usage under the Toxics Use Reduction Act, readers will learn how the chemicals are being used and by which companies.

Cadmium (Cd) is a soft, silver-white, low-melting-point metal. Cadmium is extracted mainly as a byproduct of the mining and processing of zinc, lead, or copper. Cadmium has many uses in industry and consumer products, mainly in batteries, pigments, coatings and plating solutions, polymer stabilizers, metal alloys, and some other compounds.

Recent studies link exposure to Cd to bladder cancer and chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD).  Human and animal studies have reported limited evidence of an increase in risk of lung cancer from the chronic inhalation of Cd.  Cadmium is a potential reproductive and developmental toxicant. California has designated Cd as causing reproductive toxicity under its Proposition 65 regulation.  Animal studies indicate that eating or drinking Cd may cause high blood pressure, iron-poor blood, liver disease, or nerve or brain damage.

Learn more about Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds health effects, use in Massachusetts, and alternatives here.