Cadmium is a heavy metal that is highly toxic even in minimal traces. This metal is commonly used in electroplating, some forms of batteries and industrial paints.
Deadly contact with cadmium oftentimes occurs if a welder has unwittingly welded or bonded metal alloys that include cadmium. The potential effects of exposure is divided into acute signs due to brief exposure to a large dose versus chronic signs brought about by repeated exposure to low doses.
Nausea and vomiting
Ingesting large doses of cadmium can result to significant digestive effects. This form of acute poisoning oftentimes occurs if an acidic food or beverage is kept in a vessel that has been lined with cadmium glaze where it leeches into the food or beverage.
Once an individual ingests a large amount of cadmium, it immediately results to nausea and vomiting. Abdominal pain might also arise along with diarrhea.
If an intense exposure occurs, it can lead to hemorrhage of the digestive tract as well as significant impairment of the kidneys, liver and heart which ultimately results to death.
Breathing in large amounts of cadmium can result to significant, dangerous effects on the lungs. If the elevated concentration reaches the lungs, the symptoms do not typically manifest for 4-10 hours in which the alveoli start to bleed.
Fever and chills might be present along with an increase in the blood flow to the lungs which further worsens the hemorrhage. The lungs might also become inflamed and swollen leading to difficulty breathing.
Blood clots might develop in the small blood vessels all over the lungs. Take note that the effects generally worsen over time and can lead to lasting lung damage and even death.
Damage to the kidneys
Prolonged exposure to low levels of cadmium often results to the buildup of the metal in the kidneys. Once the levels rises in the kidneys, the organ becomes damaged which limits kidney function and causes protein to be eliminated in the urine. Continuous exposure to the metal can result to kidney failure.
Extensive exposure to the metal is known to cause the development of cancer. Prostate cancer and lung cancer are the usual forms triggered by chronic exposure to cadmium.