February 9 2015 - In This Issue:
Dear Customer


Below is a new article on the Heavy & Toxic Metal; Cadmium. Over the next 20 weeks or so we will be bringing you a new article each week on the rest of the heavy metals - there are about 24 of them now being labelled as such. You can see details of them here over the next couple of weeks if you do not wish to wait for the weekly articles:


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Cadmium (Cd): A friend or foe - you decide.

By Clifford Woods

There are a lot of elements in the Periodic Table.


Do you know what is harmful and what is not?
In this article, you will be able get an overview about one specific element that does both things. Your chem101 class might be over, but it doesn't mean you can't get a litter refresher, right?


And after all, it pays to know these types of things. Knowledge is always power and safety should always come first.

What is Cadmium?
Word Origin: The name of this element came from two different origins. "Kadmeia" for the Greek and "Cadmia" for Latin, which both mean "calamine".


It also got its name from a famous character in Mythology, Cadmus, the founder of Thebes.

History: "An impurity on Zinc Carbonate", this is how this element was viewed in the earlier days. Friedrich Stromeyer, a German scientist, found traces of a different kind of metal in Zinc.


He studied it closely and conducted different types of experiments to see if these two different compounds could be separated. He started off by heating the foreign particles found in zinc and noticed the abrupt change in color. He compared it by heating pure calamine and found out that it didn't change color. 


This discovery led him to believe that the impurity he found is not related to zinc, but it is an entirely new substance.

And by 1817, this unknown matter is named as a new element. Germany was the primary producer of this kind of metal since this is where it was first isolated. They dominated the market for 100 years and was only adopted by other countries later on.

Technical: It is one of the metallic elements listed under the Periodic Table (Group 12). It goes by under the symbol Cd and has an atomic number 48. It has bluish-white hue and is commonly associated with Zinc and Mercury. It is pliable, rust-resistant and considered to be highly poisonous.


It can also be combined with different types of metal and other non-metallic elements. This type of metal can be mostly found in the crust of the earth and can be exhumed by means of mining and smelting. Its main use is a protective coating and a strengthening agent for different types of equipment.

Name: Cadmium
Symbol: Cd
Atomic Number: 48
Atomic Mass: 112.414(4)
Melting Point: 594.22 K (321.07 �C, 609.93 �F)
Boiling Point: 1040 K (767 �C, 1413 �F)
Classification: Metallic

Its Various Uses: 

Batteries - Back in the days, this metal was primarily being used in coating rechargeable batteries. Its capability to strengthen nickel makes it ideal for coating. However, this has been discontinued due to its harmful effect. 

Electroplating - It is being used in about 6% of global production. Its rust free and strengthening characteristics are ideal in making aeroplanes. They use it in coating steels such as titanium.
Nuclear Fission - Westinghouse Electric Company uses this metal in most of their products. They combine it with silver, indium and calcium to help control neutrons in nuclear fission.
Compounds - This substance can also be combined with non-metallic elements. One popular mixture would be Cadmium Oxide. This is being used in television tube production.

Another prime example is paint. They add this type of element in the mixture to preserve the vividness of the color. Since this is good for coating, it makes the paint last longer and keeps it from being easily tarnished.

Laboratory Uses� - Fluorescent microscope is an example. It helps project blue-ultraviolet laser lights that makes image crisper and more defined.

Exposure & Expectations:
Minimal exposure to Cadmium is not harmful. Frequent and prolonged exposure is. This type of substance is considered to be one of the most toxic elements in the Periodic Table. Too much contact can lead to a variety of illnesses.

Here are some examples:
Respiratory Disease� - Burning this type of substance produces a yellow tinged fume. When inhaled repeatedly, it can cause your lungs to swell. Breathing in contaminated dust is also dangerous. It can lead to metal poisoning, which is commonly known as Metal Fume Fever.

Symptoms: Difficulty in breathing, wheezing and recurring coughs.

Cardiovascular Effects - Exposure can cause your blood pressure to spike. This has been tested in animals, which means that it can have the same effect in humans.


A study showed that accidental ingestion and too much inhalation affects your tissue levels and atrial Natriuretic peptides (a peptide hormone secreted by the cardiac atria [chamber of the heart] that in pharmacological doses promotes salt and water excretion and lowers blood pressure -called also atrial natriuretic factor) which in turn results to hypertension. 

Symptoms: Fluctuating and unexplainable increase in blood pressure.

Renal Effects - The primary organ affected by this substance is your kidneys. Ingestion or inhalation can cause renal failure. 


However, do keep in mind that it will still depend on the degree of your exposure. As you know, renal diseases are slow-paced. It can take years for the symptoms to manifest. However, it can be easily detected by going through some basic lab tests. Heightened creatinine levels and albumin presence in your urine might already be an indicator.

Symptoms: Increased albumin [the main protein of human blood plasma] in urine, high creatinine [breakdown product of creatine phosphate in muscle] levels.

Skeletal lesions - Just like calcium, this substance can also accumulate inside your bones. It hinders the production of calcium which in turn causes osteoporosis.

Symptoms: Increased calcium in urine and reduction in bone density.

"Itai-itai" Disease - A disease widely known in Japan. The word "itai-itai" literally translates to ouch-ouch. It is most common among elderly women who have gone through the menopause stages.

Symptoms: Osteoporosis, anemia and the presence of this substance in urine.

Developmental Effects - A study showed that exposure to this element can cause preterm labor. However, there are still no sufficient records that can prove this claim.

How to detect Cadmium poisoning?
Like most diseases, it can easily be detected by lab works, through the means of urinalysis and blood chemistry.

If you know you have been exposed to this substance repeatedly and you are already showing some of the symptoms that can be found above, then it is always best to seek professional help. Note that early prevention is always better than cure.



[The information contained in this article is believed to be reliable. I have taken every precaution to verify its accuracy; I am not a medical professional and make no warranties, representations or guarantees of any kind as to its accuracy. Medical knowledge is in a constant state of change, and what I have written here may be out of date by the time you read it. The information that I have provided here is for informational purposes only and not for use in diagnosing any condition that you may or may not have. Always consult with you doctor before treating yourself.]