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Cadmium

General Description

Synonyms: Cadmium metal; Cadmium dust; Other synonyms vary depending upon the specific cadmium compound

OSHA IMIS code: C141

CAS number: 7440-43-9 (elemental)

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • mixed cellulose ester filter (MCEF) 0.8 microns
  • maximum volume: 960 L
  • minimum volume: 480 L
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min TWA
  • current analytical method: atomic absorption spectroscopy; AAS/GF
  • method reference: OSHA ID-189 (fully validated)
  • alternate analytical method: inductively coupled plasma; ICP-AES/MS, AAS
  • method reference: OSHA ID-125G, OSHA ID-206, OSHA ID-105, OSHA ID-121, and OSHA 1006 (fully validated)
  • note: If the filter is not overloaded, samples should be collected up to an 8-hour period or for the duration of the cadmium exposure.

Exposure Limits and Health Effects (Updated September 6, 2012)

Standard Set By Exposure Limit Health Effect Codes -- Health Effects and Target Organs

OSHA PEL - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1027

5 μg/m3 TWA
2.5 μg/m3 Action Level
HE1 -- increased risk of lung and prostate cancer
HE3 -- kidney damage
HE11 -- acute pulmonary edema
HE16 -- mild irritation of the upper respiratory tract, a sensation of throat constriction, a metallic taste and/or cough
HE17 -- asphyxia
OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.1127
5 μg/m3 TWA
2.5 μg/m3 Action Level
HE1 -- increased risk of lung and prostate cancer
HE3 -- kidney damage
HE11 -- acute pulmonary edema
HE16 -- mild irritation of the upper respiratory tract, a sensation of throat constriction, a metallic taste and/or cough
HE17 -- asphyxia
OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1027
5 μg/m3 TWA
2.5 μg/m3 Action Level
HE1 -- increased risk of lung and prostate cancer
HE3 -- kidney damage
HE11 -- acute pulmonary edema
HE16 -- mild irritation of the upper respiratory tract, a sensation of throat constriction, a metallic taste and/or cough
HE17 -- asphyxia
NIOSH REL Not established (lowest feasible concentration)
Note: The REL applies to all cadmium compounds (as Cd)
Ca
HE1 -- prostate cancer
HE3 -- kidney dysfunction
HE10 -- pulmonary changes, including emphysema
HE12 -- anemia
ACGIH TLV® (1990) 0.01 mg/m3 TWA
A2
BEI®
HE3 -- preclinical kidney dysfunction
HE4 -- metal fume fever
0.002 mg/m3 (respirable particulate fraction) TWA
A2
BEI®
HE1 -- lung cancer
HE4 -- metal fume fever
CAL/OSHA PELs 0.005 mg/m3  

The cadmium fume PELs of 0.1 mg/m3 TWA and 0.3 mg/m3 Ceiling and the cadmium dust PELs of 0.2 mg/m3 TWA and 0.6 mg/m3 Ceiling (see 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-2) apply to any operations or sectors for which the Cadmium standard, 29 CFR 1910.1027, is stayed or otherwise not in effect.

Metal fume fever is a temporary condition caused by inhaling cadmium fumes. Symptoms typically include chills, fever, upset stomach, vomiting, dryness of the throat, cough, weakness, and achiness.

For industries where a separate engineering control air limit SECAL has been specified, see 29 CFR 1910.1027(f)(1)(ii).

Carcinogenic classification:

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): Not established

ATSDR Inhalation Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs): 0.00003 mg/m3 (acute); 0.00001 mg/m3 (chronic)

NIOSH IDLH concentration: 9 mg Cd/m3

Notes on other potential health effects and hazards:

  1. Cadmium is flammable in its powder form and is spontaneously combustible in its pyrophoric form (NIOSH/ICPS 2005).
  2. Occupational exposure to cadmium may increase the risk of high blood pressure, low bone mineral density, and osteoporosis (Poreba et al. 2010; Nawrot et al. 2010).
  3. Cadmium may be a teratogen (NIOSH 1976).

Partial reference list:

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) ­ Cadmium and Compounds. 2001.
  • Nawrot T, Geusens P, Nulens TS, Nemery B: Occupational cadmium exposure and calcium excretion, bone density, and osteoporosis in men. J Bone Miner Res. 25(6):1441-5, June 2010.
  • NIOSH: Criteria for a Recommended Standard - Occupational Exposure to Cadmium. 1976.
  • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Cadmium Dust (as Cadmium). 1978.
  • NIOSH/CEC/IPCS: International Chemical Safety CardsCadmium. April 22, 2005.
  • NTP: Report on Carcinogens Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds
  • OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Standards, Substance Safety Data Sheet - Cadmium. 1910.1027 App A
  • Poreba R, Gac P, Poreba M, Derkacz A, Pilecki W, Antonowicz-Juchniewicz J, Andrzejak R: Relationship between chronic exposure to lead, cadmium and manganese, blood pressure values and incidence of arterial hypertension. Med Pr. 61(1):5-14, 2010.

Chemical Sampling Information

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