A 28-year-old female presented for evaluation of left flank pain and polyuria after having been exposed to cadmium in the jewelry manufacturing industry for approximately 3 years. This patient possessed both elevated 24-hr urinary ss2-microglobulin and elevated blood cadmium levels. Approximately 6 months after initial presentation, the patient resigned from her job due to shortness of breath, chest pain, and anxiety. Exposure to cadmium in the jewelry industry is a significant source of occupational cadmium exposure. Other occupational sources include the manufacture of nickel-cadmium batteries, metal plating, zinc and lead refining, smelting of cadmium and lead, and production of plastics. Cadmium is also an environmental pollutant that accumulates in leafy vegetables and plants, including tobacco. Major toxicities anticipated from cadmium exposure involve the renal, pulmonary, and, to a lesser extent, gastrointestinal systems. These include the development of renal proximal tubular dysfunction, glomerular damage with progressive renal disease, and respiratory symptoms including pneumonitis and emphysema. Low-level cadmium exposure has also been associated with increased urinary calcium excretion and direct bone toxicity, effects that recent research suggests may result in the development of osteoporosis. The body burden of cadmium, over half of which may reside in the kidneys, is most often measured through the use of urinary cadmium levels. Blood cadmium measurements generally reflect current or recent exposure and are especially useful in cases with a short exposure period and only minimal accumulation of cadmium in the kidneys. Both ss2-microglobulin and alpha1-microglobulin serve as organ-specific, early-effect biomarkers of tubular proteinuria and thus play a role in identifying early signs of cadmium-induced renal damage in those with potential exposures. In addition to ensuring workplace compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration-mandated monitoring and screening measures, it is prudent for those with cadmium exposure to maintain adequate intake of both iron and calcium, appropriate measures even in the absence of exposure.
View details for Web of Science ID 000179810600031
View details for PubMedID 12460807