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Toxicol Lett. 2005 Nov 15;159(2):192-201.

Estimation of cumulative cadmium intake causing Itai-itai disease.

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Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine (A2), Chiba University, Japan.

Erratum in

  • Toxicol Lett. 2006 Jul 1;164(2):189-90.


This study was undertaken to estimate the amount of cadmium (Cd) exposure needed for the development of Itai-itai disease. The investigated subjects comprised 82 Itai-itai disease patients and 11 persons requiring observation who were admitted in 1977 and 1978 for medical testing. With the period when the Itai-itai disease patients started to perceive leg/back pain defined as the 'mild disease onset', and the period when they experienced the most severe manifestations such as ambulatory disturbance and bone fractures defined as 'severe disease onset'. Relative cumulative person number distribution according to life time cadmium intake (LCD) at mild disease onset, severe disease onset, and time of death was depicted as an sigmoid curve and the establishment of probit regression lines was demonstrated between them. LCD at the time when mild disease onset and severe disease onset were recognized in half of the Itai-itai disease patients was 3.1 and 3.8 g, respectively. Furthermore, LCD at the time when mild disease onset and severe disease onset were recognized in 5% of the Itai-itai disease patients was calculated to be 2.6 and 3.3 g, respectively. The present results clarify that Itai-itai disease, the most severe stage of chronic Cd poisoning, occurs at levels of Cd consumption amounting to approximately three-fold of those currently seen in Japan.

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