Cadmium is an extremely toxic metal classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Group 1 carcinogen. Cadmium contributes to the development of lung cancer, and may also cause kidney and prostate cancer. The U.S. Department of Labor recognizes cadmium as a hazard to workers and cites severe health effects including cancer, pulmonary emphysema, and bone disease from chronic exposure to cadmium. Additionally, cadmium is an endocrine disruptor which means that it can affect male virility, cause genital deformities, and contribute to reproductive problems in men.

10 current policies in 3 states
10 adopted policies in 7 states
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  • Adopted Policies
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Cadmium In Our Lives

Cadmium is used in batteries, industrial paint pigments, metal coatings and as a stabilizer for plastics. It is mainly produced as a byproduct of smelting and refining of zinc concentrates. High levels of cadmium are found in inexpensive children's toys, jewelry and painted products.

Cadmium In Our Bodies

Exposure comes from touching cadmium containing products, from inhaling tobacco smoke, and from airborne emissions due to the burning of fossil fuels and municipal waste. Smokers have about twice as much cadmium in their bodies as do nonsmokers. Children are exposed to cadmium by mouthing toys, jewelry and painted products.

Progress to Protect Health

For a downloadable version of the history of policy on cadmium, click here.

Seven states have passed cadmium restrictions, affecting everything from kids' products to brake pads. And the international community has stepped up as well — the EU set into place a ban on the use of cadmium in plastics, jewelry, brazing and soldering sticks as of December 2011.

Learn More About Cadmium in Everyday Products

Center for Environmental Health

Washington Toxics Coalition

Bill Tracker for Cadmium

Current Policy

Adopted Policy