Cadmium in blood and urine--impact of sex, age, dietary intake, iron status, and former smoking--association of renal effects

Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Dec;110(12):1185-90. doi: 10.1289/ehp.021101185.


We studied determinants of cadmium status and kidney function in nonsmoking men and women living on farms in southern Sweden. Median blood Cd (BCd) was 1.8 nmol/L (range, 0.38-18) and median urinary Cd (UCd) was 0.23 nmol/mmol creatinine (range, 0.065-0.99). The intake of Cd per kilogram body weight did not significantly differ between sexes and did not correlate with BCd or UCd, which may be explained by a low and varying bioavailibility of Cd from food items. However, when a subgroup of the study population, couples of never-smoking men and women, were compared, a lower intake per kilogram body weight was found in the women, but the women had a 1.8 times higher BCd and a 1.4 times higher UCd. The higher female BCd and UCd may be explained by higher absorption due to low iron status. BCd and UCd both increased with age and were higher in the ex-smokers, who had stopped smoking more than 5 years before the study, compared to never-smokers. The contribution of locally produced food to the total Cd intake was relatively low and varied. Males living in areas with low soil Cd had lower UCd than the others. However, Cd levels in kidneys from pigs, fed locally produced cereals, did not predict BCd or UCd in humans at the same farms. The kidney function parameter ss2-microglobulin-creatinine clearance was related to UCd, whereas urinary protein-HC, N-acetyl-ss-glucoseaminidase or albumin-creatinine clearance was not when age was accounted for. Hence, even at the low exposure levels in this study population, there was an indication of effect on biochemical markers of renal function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cadmium / adverse effects*
  • Cadmium / blood*
  • Cadmium / urine*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood
  • Kidney / chemistry
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Soil Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Soil Pollutants / pharmacokinetics
  • Swine


  • Biomarkers
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Cadmium
  • Iron