Cadmium is a heavy metal with many uses, but it is mainly used to make rechargeable batteries and paint pigments. Large amounts of cadmium are released into the air by factories and incinerators, which could make people sick if they breathe them in.
Because of this, industrial areas have the most cadmium in the air. Cadmium has also been found in fertilizers, but only in small amounts. However, if the fertilizers are used for a long time, they can contaminate the soil.
When eaten or breathed in, the metal is known to cause cancer. Breathing in cadmium will make your muscles hurt, make you feel cold, and give you a fever.
Cadmium fumes can damage your lungs and make you lose your sense of smell if you breathe them in for a long time. Cadmium in the body weakens the bones, which makes them more likely to break.
This is the most severe effect of cadmium. Cadmium poisoning has also been linked to kidney stones and failure of the kidneys.
Cadmium pigments are mostly made from cadmium sulfide and cadmium sulfoselenide, both compounds based on cadmium. About 2,000 tons of cadmium pigments are made each year around the world.
This is about half of the total amount of cadmium made each year worldwide. Cadmium pigments are best for plastic surfaces that can withstand temperatures up to 3,000 degrees Celsius.
Even though cadmium sulfide pigments are not very dangerous, the cadmium vapors that come from welding are the most dangerous.
Because it is dangerous to be around cadmium for a long time, many of its traditional users have switched to other pigments, such as azo pigments. Australia is the leader in the fight against pigments made with cadmium, and it has banned using these pigments in plastics used to make toys.
Cadmium is the primary material used to make nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries, and the negative electrode plate of these batteries is made of cadmium.
Industrial nickel-cadmium batteries have about 6% cadmium, while commercial nickel-cadmium batteries can have as much as 18% cadmium. People who work in factories that make nickel-cadmium batteries are most likely to get sick from the batteries’ cadmium.
Cadmium pollution can happen when batteries are thrown away, which puts people at risk of getting sick from cadmium.
Many battery companies worldwide have realized that cadmium is dangerous and have stopped making nickel-cadmium batteries in favor of lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries.
Since 2016, the European Union has banned the use of nickel-cadmium batteries. Industrial nickel-cadmium batteries should be thrown away by the people who made them.
Itai-Itai is a disease.
Itai-Itai disease is caused by cadmium poisoning. It is most common in Japan’s Toyama Prefecture, where heavy metals have been mined for a long time. Its name comes from the most common symptom, which is severe pain in the joints and spine (“Itai-Itai” means “it hurts, it hurts”).
Mining started in the Toyama Prefecture in the early 1800s, but large-scale mining of heavy metals didn’t start until the 1900s.
Cadmium was one of the waste products of mining, and it went into the Jinzu River, the primary source of water used to grow rice. First, the cadmium hurt the fish in the river.
Then, the rice took in the cadmium. People in the area eventually started having severe joint and back pains that are a sign of cadmium disease.