Global Burden of Late-Stage Chronic Kidney Disease Resulting From Dietary Exposure to Cadmium, 2015

Environ Res. 2019 Feb;169:72-78. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.10.005. Epub 2018 Oct 22.


Chronic exposures to cadmium (Cd) are associated with reduced glomerular filtration rate (GFR), increasing the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). In support of the World Health Organization (WHO)'s initiative to estimate the global burden of foodborne diseases, a risk assessment was performed to estimate the Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) due to late-stage CKD associated with dietary exposures to cadmium. Using the distribution of population GFRs, the prevalence of CKD was calculated as the proportion of humans whose GFR fall in the ranges corresponding to Stage 4 or Stage 5 CKD. The increase in the CKD prevalence due to cadmium exposure was simulated based on a previously reported pharmacokinetic model describing the relationship between dietary cadmium intake and urinary cadmium (UCd), as well as a previously published dose-response relationship between UCd and GFR. Cadmium-related incidence rate, calculated as the change in the prevalence during a one-year period, were used to compute the mortality and DALY in all WHO regions. It is estimated that dietary cadmium would result in a median of 12,224 stage 4 and stage 5 new CKD cases per year worldwide, resulting in 2064 global deaths and 70,513 DALYs. These data translate into a median global burden of 1.0 DALY per 100,000 population, which account for 0.2% of the global DALYs of CKD. While these results suggest that the overall impact of dietary cadmium exposure on global CKD is low, they do indicate that reasonable efforts to reduce dietary exposure will result a positive public health impact. This would be particularly the case in areas with elevated levels of dietary cadmium.

Keywords: Cadmium; Chronic kidney disease; Diet; Disability-adjusted life year; Foodborne burden of disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cadmium*
  • Dietary Exposure*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*


  • Cadmium