Cadmium Being Found in More and More Americans By Richard Mesquita, AquaMD(AquaMD is the water testing division of the American Water Council, a nationally respected provider of water education and testing services. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just published its third "National Report On Human Exposure To Environmental Chemicals." Their study tested the blood and urine samples of about 2,400 people for 148 different chemicals. The final report showed that most people are a walking chemistry lab. And the 475-page report goes out of its way to highlight the amount of cadmium showing up in many more Americans. What is Cadmium? Cadmium is a soft metal that is typically used in the manufacture of paints, coatings, platings and plastics. Additionally, when company's mine and processes metals such as zinc, lead and copper, a lot of cadmium is produced as a byproduct. Coal and mineral fertilizers also contain cadmium. And if you have a cellular phone, chances are it has a nickel-cadmium battery. How Much is Released Into the Environment Each Year? The Environmental Protection Agency reports U.S. companies disposed of more than 6.6 million pounds of cadmium and cadmium compounds into our air, water and landfills for the latest reporting year. The 10 states where the greatest amount of cadmium was released into the environment: 1. Illinois: 2,344,566 lbs 2. Alaska: 1,274,195 lbs. 3. Utah: 433,003 lbs. 4. Idaho: 424,968 lbs. 5. Nevada: 398,036 lbs. 6. Oklahoma: 383,912 lbs. 7. Alabama: 280,415 lbs. 8. Ohio: 238,512 lbs. 9. Tennessee: 211,042 lbs. 10. Pennsylvania: 103,231 lbs. Its also been estimated there are some 550 million used mobile phones sitting in U.S. homes, waiting to go into landfills. The vast majority of those phones contain nickel-cadmium batteries and the problem increases by 50 million more cellular phones each year. How Does it Get Into the Water Supply? When coal is burned to generate electricity, cadmium is released into the air. And when industries process metals such as zinc, lead and copper, cadmium is also released into the air. Once in the air, cadmium particles can travel long distances before falling to the ground and being washed by rainwater into public water supplies. Cadmium particles can also fall right into various rivers, lakes and streams (where cadmium waste can also be found). And, amazingly, cadmium can also be released into your drinking water from the corrosion of some galvanized pipes in your home or from the underground water mains that bring water to your home. How Does Cadmium Affect Your Health? Once cadmium gets into your body, it stays there for a very long time. If you take in just a little bit of cadmium each year, it keeps accumulating in your body. Long-term exposure to lower levels of cadmium in water leads to a buildup in your kidneys that can cause kidney disease and liver damage. Other long-term effects include lung damage, fragile bones and significant blood damage. Needless to say, cadmium is also a likely carcinogen. The EPA has an old safety standard in place that says you can be exposed to water containing cadmium levels of 5 ppb and you'll be OK. But even this new CDC study acknowledged recent research shows significantly lower levels of cadmium can result in subtle kidney damage and increased low bone-mineral density. One of the studies they are likely referring to is known as the recent OSCAR (OSteoporosis-CAdmium as a Risk factor) study. Finally, you don't just have to drink water containing cadmium for it to be absorbed into your body. You can also inhale it from water vapor in the shower and absorb it through water contact with your skin. If cadmium is in your water supply, have it removed. And see your health practitioner for treatment. They can help remove the cadmium that has accumulated in your system and stop or reverse any damage it may have caused.