Until this week, I thought cadmium was something used to make rechargable batteries. I knew you had to be careful how you throw those away (don’t put them in the trash!) but I did not consider cadmium to be a health hazard.
Cadmium page on Wikipedia tells us that cadmium is “soft, bluish-white metal is chemically similar to…two other metals…zinc and mercury. Well, we know mercury is dangerous but zinc is in our food.
Why worry about cadmium?
Cadmium is #7 on the CDC’s list of hazardous substances.
Health and developmental problems from cadmium exposure have been documented before birth.
Researchers at Harvard University found that children exposed to cadmium were “3 times more likely to have learning disabilities.”
Where do you find cadmium?
Rechargable batteries, definitely, but cadmium has also been found in:
Are there any rules about cadmium?
Not really. The European Union has banned cadmium. A bill was proposed in the US Senate to ban cadmium in 2010, but it failed to pass. The Consumer Products Safety Commission has set a recommendation of an acceptable daily intake level and the EPA has asked manufacturers to submit health and safety data, but withdrawn that request because of complaints from the cadmium industry.
At Alliance, we hope that cadmium does not become the problem that lead was and still is today. We hope that manufacturers do not put cadmium in products that will end up in children’s mouths or endanger their employees’ health by ignoring safety standards set for people who work with other hazardous materials. We will keep an eye on news about cadmium and future recalls.
Have a great weekend!