What Instructions Should Be Given to Patients Exposed to Cadmium?

Learning Objective

Upon completion of this section, you will be able to

  • describe preventive measures that patients affected by cadmium should follow.

Since cadmium is a cumulative toxin, the most important recommendation that a physician can make to a patient is to avoid or minimize known sources of exposure to cadmium.

Preventive Measures

Instructions for patients in order to prevent or minimize further exposures to cadmium.

  • Stop smoking. Tobacco smoke contains cadmium and cadmium is absorbed into the system through the lungs.
  • Be sure of adequate iron in the diet. People who are iron deficient will absorb more oral cadmium into their system.
  • Practice good occupational hygiene if involved in work with cadmium or in hobbies involving cadmium exposure such as jewelry making or paints using cadmium.

If the patient believes that the excessive exposure to cadmium is due to on the job exposures, a good source of information for the occupationally exposed patient is the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/).

Clinical Follow Up

If a patient believes that they have been excessively exposed to cadmium, they should come to their family physician for a thorough exposure history, a complete physical, and for appropriate testing. Depending on the findings of the exam, referral to a specialist in pulmonary, renal, and/or skeletal disease may be required.

Key Points
  • Patients exposed to cadmium should be instructed how to prevent or minimize further exposures as well as advised of the health risks associated with cadmium exposure.