The authors undertook this study to assess levels of cadmium exposure in the general population. Samples of lung, liver, and kidney were obtained from 61 cadavers (43 males, 18 females; 2-89 yr of age, mean age = 38.5 yr) who died from accidental causes and who were subject to postmortem examinations at the John Tonge Centre for Forensic Sciences, Queensland Health Scientific Services, Brisbane, Australia, in 1997 and 1998. Samples of bladder urine were also obtained from 22 cadavers. Tissue and urine samples were analyzed for cadmium, zinc, and copper with inductively coupled plasm (ICP) mass spectrometry. The overall mean values for cadmium in the lung, liver, and kidney cortex samples were 0.13, 0.95, and 15.45 microg/gm wet tissue weight. The average renal cadmium level in subjects with high lung-cadmium levels (n = 13) was 6 microg/gm wet tissue weight higher than that of similarly aged subjects who had medium lung-cadmium levels (n = 30). In females, the average level of cadmium in the liver was 74% greater than in males, and the average liver cadmium in females with high lung-cadmium levels was 100% higher than in males in the same age range who had the same high lung-cadmium levels. Renal cadmium accumulation tended to be greater in females than in males who were in the same age range and who had similar lung-cadmium levels, a result that suggested that there was a higher absorption rate of cadmium in females. The mean value for a urinary cadmium excretion of 2.30 microg/gm creatinine was found in a subset of samples that had a mean age of 39 yr and a renal cortex cadmium concentration of 18.6 microg/gm wet tissue weight. Urinary cadmium excretion rates were correlated more strongly with lung and kidney cadmium content than with age or liver cadmium levels. The results suggest that urinary cadmium excretion may be increased in smokers and could provide some estimate of body cadmium burdens in future Australian epidemiological studies.
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