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Lancet. 1990 Sep 22;336(8717):699-702.

Renal effects of cadmium body burden of the general population.

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Industrial Toxicology and Occupational Medicine Unit, University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.

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  • Lancet 1991 Jun 22;337(8756):1554.


In a cross-sectional population study to assess whether environmental exposure to cadmium is associated with renal dysfunction, 1699 subjects aged 20-80 years were studied as a random sample of four areas of Belgium with varying degrees of cadmium pollution. After standardisation for several possible confounding factors, five variables (urinary excretion of retinol-binding protein, N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase, beta 2-microglobulin, aminoacids, and calcium) were significantly associated with the urinary excretion of cadmium (as a marker of cadmium body burden), suggesting the presence of tubular dysfunction. There was a 10% probability of values of these variables being abnormal when cadmium excretion exceeded 2-4 micrograms/24 h. Excretion reached this threshold in 10% of non-smokers. There was also evidence that diabetic patients may be more susceptible to the toxic effect of cadmium on the renal proximal tubule.

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