CAW National Council 4000
Occupational Health and Safety

Hazardous Substances:  Cadmium

Cadmium fume can create ill-health effects when inhaled.

Short-term Effects

Cadmium fume causes irritation of the nose and throat.

Acute poisoning, when mild, causes metal fume fever with flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, sweating, and chills. Yellow
staining of teeth may occur especially in smokers.

In more severe poisoning, the flu symptoms progress to chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, and generalized weakness.
Pneumonia develops and death may result within a few days.

Long-term Effects

Repeated or prolonged exposure to cadmium fume may cause loss of sense of smell, ulceration of the nose, and shortness of
breath (emphysema and/or pneumonitis). Kidney damage may eventually lead to the formation of kidney stones. Anaemia may
develop. Damage to the liver may result in cirrhosis. These conditions are permanent and irreversible.

Exposure to cadmium fume has also been reported to cause an increased incidence of cancer of the prostate in men. Injections of
cadmium sulphate in animals have caused malformation in their offspring. Studies of the effect of cadmium on human reproduction
have not yet been made.


  • Enclose process
  • Local exhaust ventilation
  • General dilution ventilation
  • Personal protection equipment


ACGIH TLV 0.01 mg/m3 for total inhalable material, 0.002 mg/m3 for respirable particles.

U.S. NIOSH recommendation 0.04 mg/m3

Source:  CAW Health, Safety & Environment Department