Archives of environmental health vol:47 pages:347-353
The body burden of cadmium, as estimated from 24-h urine cadmium levels, was determined in 1,523 subjects who were not occupationally exposed and who lived in five areas of Belgium. Urinary cadmium levels differed significantly with place of residence. These differences persisted after standardization for the other significant determinants (i.e., age, body mass index, smoking habits, social class, alcohol consumption, and menopause). The highest 24-h urine cadmium levels were found in subjects who lived in areas that contained cadmium-polluted soils. The body burden overload has been attributed mainly to the consumption of locally grown vegetables and the use of contaminated well water for cooking and drinking. Blood cadmium levels were also dependent on place of residence. However, the geographical differences in blood cadmium did not parallel those of urine cadmium. Blood cadmium is more influenced by recent exposure; therefore, this latter observation might reflect the recent implementation of preventive measures in some areas.