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Toxicol Lett. 2010 Sep 15;198(1):20-5. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2010.04.029. Epub 2010 May 11.

Burden of cadmium in early childhood: longitudinal assessment of urinary cadmium in rural Bangladesh.

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Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, SE-17177 Stockholm, Sweden.


Chronic cadmium exposure is associated with many adverse health effects in adults, but little is known about the scenario early in life. This study assessed cadmium exposure and body burden in young children, born to women with known cadmium exposure via rice. As part of our ongoing population-based, longitudinal study of health effects of early-life toxicants exposure in rural Bangladesh, we measured cadmium in urine of about 350 children at 1.5 and 5 years of age, and in 92 children at 3 months of age. Median cadmium concentrations in urine were 0.30, 0.16 and 0.30 microg/L at 3 months, 1.5 and 5 years of age, respectively (0.6 microg/L in mothers). Cadmium concentrations in infant's urine correlated with concentrations in maternal breast milk, saliva, and urine. As expected, concentrations in urine increased from 1.5 to 5 years of age. Rice (median 47 microgCd/kg) is most likely the main source of exposure. In conclusion, we found unexpectedly high cadmium exposure among children in rural Bangladesh. Urinary cadmium concentrations were particularly elevated at 3 months of age, indicating limited reabsorption and accumulation of cadmium in the kidneys, known to be the main site of cadmium burden in older children and adults.

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