Health Effects

Occupational exposure to cadmium can lead to a variety of adverse health effects including cancer. Acute inhalation exposure (high levels over a short period of time) to cadmium can result in flu-like symptoms (chills, fever, and muscle pain) and can damage the lungs. Chronic exposure (low level over an extended period of time) can result in kidney, bone and lung disease. For a comprehensive discussion of cadmium's health effects, see OSHA Preambles to Final Rules – Cadmium.

The following webpages provide additional information on the health effects of cadmium.

  • OSHA Brief - Medical Evaluation of Renal Effects of Cadmium Exposures. OSHA, (August 2013).
  • Report on Carcinogens (ROC). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Toxicology Program (NTP). Identifies and discusses agents, substances, mixtures, or exposure circumstances that may pose a health hazard due to their carcinogenicity. The listing of substances in the RoC only indicates a potential hazard and does not establish the exposure conditions that would pose cancer risks to individuals.
  • Cadmium. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Safety & Health Topic. Provides information and resources on cadmium. Documents the criteria and information sources used by NIOSH to determine immediately dangerous to life or health concentrations, including cadmium.
  • Worker Notification Program -Cadmium Recovery Workers (Cadmium). National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Includes sections on the following subjects: NIOSH Kidney Study, NIOSH Mortality Study, charts that show the risk of dying from lung cancer for cadmium workers at the plant, Steps to Protect Your Health, Estimated "Relative" Risk of Dying from Lung Cancer, and Additional Resources.
  • Toxicological Profile for Cadmium. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Register, (September 2008).
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). IARC Monographs (volume 58, 1993, Beryllium, Cadmium, Mercury, and Exposures in the Glass Manufacturing industry). The monographs provide readers with detailed information on summaries of the toxicological cancer studies in humans and animals.
  • Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). IRIS is updated by the Environmental Protection Agency and maintained by the National Library of Medicine. The database contains chemical health risk assessments and regulatory information.
  • Public Health Statement for Cadmium. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Register, (September 2008).
  • For additional information regarding carcinogens, see OSHA's Safety and Health Topics Page on Carcinogens.