Next on our series of RCRA 8 Metals is Cadmium. A little history: Cadmium was discovered in 1817 from an impurity in zinc carbonate. Cadmium is mostly obtained as a by-product in the treatment of zinc, copper, and lead ores. It is a bluish-white, soft metal that can easily be cut with a knife.
We as human’s intake cadmium mainly through food – in some different forms; through mushrooms, shellfish, mussels, cocoa powder, and dried seaweed. However, if it’s a RCRA 8, there has to be consequences.
The most common way people are exposed to Cadmium is through first-hand, or second-hand smoke from tobacco. When we smoke, the cadmium travels to our lungs, and then from the lungs, our blood will transport the cadmium throughout our bodies. The first organ it attacks is our liver. In the liver, the Cadmium will bond to proteins that will pass to our kidney’s, which in turn damages our filtering mechanisms.
Acute exposure to Cadmium fumes may cause flu-like symptoms including the chills, fever, and “the Cadmium blues” (muscle aches). Chronic exposures lead to reproductive failure and possibly even infertility, damage to the central nervous system and immune system, psychological disorders, and even DNA damage or cancer development. A huge health effect of long-term exposure to Cadmium is bone fracture. The reason being is the bones become soft, lose their mineral density and become weak. You will feel pain in your back and joints, which increases the risk of fractures. In extreme cases, just your body weight can cause a fracture.