Table 3-4Summary of Occupational Exposure Studies Examining Renal Effects

PopulationEffectAdverse effect levelReference
Zinc-cadmium smelter workers (n=87)Age-related decline in maximal GFR was exacerbated in workers with cadmium-induced microproteinuria.U-Cd: 11.1 µg/g creatinineRoels et al. 1991
Workers using cadmium pigments in plastic production or using cadmium in welding (n=27)Significant increase in urinary β2M and NAG levels.U-Cd: 5 µg/g creatinineVerschoor et al. 1987
Cadmium alloy workers (n=164)Higher incidence of increased urinary β2M levels (>250 µg/L cut-off) when urinary cadmium levels exceeded 10 µg/g creatinine on one or more occasions, as compared to workers who never exceeded the 10 µg/g creatinine level.U-Cd: 10 µg/g creatinineToffoletto et al. 1992
Cadmium smelter workers (n=53)Significant increase in urinary protein and β2M levels.U-Cd: 13.3 µg/g creatinineShaikh et al. 1987
Non-ferrous smelter workers (n=58)Significant increase in urinary β2M, RBP protein, pHC, albumin, and transferrin levels.U-Cd: >10 µg/g creatinineBernard et al. 1990
Workers exposed to cadmium pigment dust (n=58)Significant correlation between urinary cadmium and NAG levels; significant correlation with β2M at one of the two time points.U-Cd: 1.1–1.4 µg/g creatinineKawada et al. 1989
Zinc-cadmium smelter workers (n=50)Significant association between urinary cadmium levels and urinary levels of NAG, albumin, and transferrin. At higher urinary cadmium levels (10 µg/g creatinine), there were significant associations with RBP and β2M.U-Cd: 4 µg/g creatinineRoels et al. 1993
Battery workers (n=561)10% prevalence of abnormal β2M levels (220 µg/g creatinine cut-off).U-Cd: 1.5 µg/g creatinine for ≥60 years of age U-Cd: 5 µg/g creatinine for <60 years of ageJärup and Elinder 1994
Alkaline battery factory workers (n=102)10% prevalence of renal dysfunction (β2M >380 µg/g creatinine; RBP >130 µg/g creatinine).U-Cd: 10–15 µg/g creatinineJakubowski et al. 1987
Workers at a factory using cadmium-containing solders (n=60)25% prevalence of abnormal β2M levels (300 µg/g creatinine cut-off).U-Cd: 2–5 µg/g creatinineElinder et al. 1985a
Workers at nickel-cadmium battery factory (n=92)Significant increase in pHC and NAG levels (after adjustment for age, gender, and race).U-Cd: 5–10 µg/g creatinineChia et al. 1992
Cadmium smelter workers (n=85)Significant increases in levels β2M and NAG levels and increased prevalence of abnormal levels of these biomarkers.U-Cd: 5–10 µg/g creatinineChen et al. 2006a, 2006b
Alkaline battery factory workers (n=141)10% prevalence of renal dysfunction (β2M >300 µg/L; RBP >300 µg/L).B-Cd: 300 µg-years/L (30 years of 10 µg/L)Jakubowski et al. 1992
Battery workers (n=440)Approximately 10% prevalence of abnormal β2M levels (35 µg/mmol creatinine cut-off).B-Cd: 5.6 µg/L Cumulative exposure: 691 µg-years/m3Järup et al. 1988
Cadmium recovery plant workers (n=45)Significant association between cumulative exposure and urinary β2M, RBP, phosphate, and calcium and serum creatinine levels.Cumulative exposure: 300 mg/m3Thun et al. 1989
Workers exposed to cadmium fumes (n=33)Increased urinary β2M and protein levels (mean 6,375 µg/g creatinine and 246 mg/g creatinine, respectively) in 7 workers (mean in remaining 23 workers 53 µg/g creatinine and 34 mg/g creatinine).Cumulative exposure: 1,137 µg/m3/yearsFalck et al. 1983

U-Cd = urinary cadmium, B-Cd = blood cadmium; GFR = glomerular filtration rate; pHC = human complex-forming glycoprotein (also referred to as α1-microglobulin); NAG = N-acetyl-β-glucosaminidase; β2M = β2-microglobulin; prt = protein; RBP = retinol binding protein


Cover of Toxicological Profile for Cadmium
Toxicological Profile for Cadmium.
Faroon O, Ashizawa A, Wright S, et al.

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