International Journal of Nanotechnology and Nanoscience, Vol. 3, 2015, 1-9

Honey Sharma, Neetu Rawal, Blessy Baby Mathew




Cadmium is a heavy metal that occurs as a natural constituent in earth’s crust along with Copper, Lead, Nickel and Zinc. Cadmium is vastly used in batteries, coating, plating, alloys etc. in various industries. Humans are commonly exposed to cadmium by inhalation and ingestion. Cadmium enters in air and bind to small particles where it can combine with water or soil causing contamination of fish, plants and animals in nanoform. Spills at hazardous waste sites and improper waste disposal can cause cadmium leakages in nearby habitats. Foodstuffs like liver, mushrooms, shellfish, mussel, cocoa powder and dried seaweed are cadmium rich increasing the concentration in human bodies. Cigarettes contains tobacco smoke that transports cadmium into lungs and then to the rest of the body through blood. The bioaccumulation of cadmium in human body and in food chain leads to acute and chronic intoxications due to biomagnification. Health effects includes diarrhea, stomach pains, Bone fracture, Reproductive failure and possibly even infertility, damage to the central nervous system and immune system, psychological disorders, etc. Cadmium can also cause the transformation of normal epithelial cells into carcinogenic cells by inhibiting the biosynthesis of protein. Cadmium waste streams from the industries end up in soil which can pollute both soil and surface water. The organic matter in the soil absorbs cadmium increasing the risk of survival of various plants and also increases the uptake of this toxic metal in food. This review is about the study of toxicity mechanism of cadmium in human beings and plants and the biological phenomena involved.

Keywords: Cadmium ion, cadmium induced toxicity, cadmium related diseases