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Environ Geochem Health. 2010 Jun;32(3):237-42. doi: 10.1007/s10653-009-9280-3. Epub 2009 Oct 6.

The influence of iron stores on cadmium body burden in a Thai population.

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  • 1Thammasat University, Pathumthani, Thailand.


Cadmium is a toxin of increasing public health concern due to its presence in most human foodstuffs and in cigarette smoke. Exposure to cadmium leads to tissue bioaccumulation and, in particular, has nephrotoxic effects. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between cadmium body burden and iron stores in a Thai population. A total of 182 healthy adult Thai subjects of both genders (89 males, 93 females) aged between 18 and 57 years and weighing 40-95 kg were included in this study. The total amounts of cadmium excreted in urine over 2 h (microg/g creatinine) were used as an index of long-term cadmium exposure. Quantitation of cadmium was performed using electrothermal (graphite furnace) atomic absorption spectrometry. The urinary cadmium excreted displayed a normal frequency distribution. The average urinary cadmium level did not exceed the WHO maximum tolerable internal dose for the non-exposed population (2 microg/g creatinine). Body iron stores reflected by serum ferritin levels did not show any correlation with cadmium burden in both males and females, although a relatively stronger influence of body iron store status on cadmium burden was shown in females. When the levels of serum ferritin were stratified into five levels (<20, 20-100, 101-200, 201-300, and >300 microg/l), a significant difference in total cadmium body burden was observed between females and males only in the group with a low level of serum ferritin of <20 microg/l. The cadmium body burden in females was about twice that in males in this group.

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