Cadmium is a heavy metal that is popularly used for a variety of industrial and manufacturing practices. It’s most notably a component used in creating nickel-cadmium batteries, but it can also be found in other industries like pipe production and metal refining.
Cadmium is also highly toxic. Unfortunately, its widespread use in different industries means that cadmium contamination can sometimes find its way into our food and drinking water sources.
Here’s what you need to know about the health effects of cadmium contamination in your drinking water, plus how you can effectively protect your family from cadmium exposure by filtering your drinking water through an innovative filtering system like the LARQ Pitcher PureVis.
What is cadmium?
Cadmium is a type of heavy metal that is used in a variety of industries like battery production, pigments, and coating other heavy metals to prevent rusting. Cadmium is very similar to the heavy metal zinc — in fact, cadmium and zinc can often be found together in naturally occurring ores along with other heavy metals like lead.
Cadmium in tap water: how it gets in the water source
Cadmium can naturally be found in the earth’s crust along with other heavy metals like copper, lead, and zinc. As a result, some cadmium can enter waterways naturally, though these levels are usually very low.
However, the biggest risk of cadmium contamination in drinking water usually comes from human practices.
For example, cadmium is sometimes used with other heavy metals like zinc to galvanize water pipes, or protect them from rusting and corrosion. However, they can also corrode themselves, which allows the heavy metals to enter the drinking water as it passes through.
Cadmium particles can also enter the water supply from nearby metal refineries or mines. Similarly, runoff from nearby waste areas with batteries and/or paint can also contribute to increased cadmium contamination.
Additionally, there are also many other ways that you might be exposed to cadmium outside of your drinking water. For example, cadmium can enter the food supply as well as the water supply. You can also be exposed to cadmium from cigarette smoke. Finally, a large amount of serious cadmium exposure occurs in manufacturing and construction work that involves cadmium, like metal refining or battery manufacturing.
Potential health effects of cadmium in drinking water
So there are many different ways that you might be exposed to cadmium, both on short term and long term bases. Unfortunately, there are also several different effects of high levels of cadmium exposure in the human body that can affect your health and well-being.
First, kidney damage is one of the most serious health risks that can come with cadmium exposure in the environment and through your diet. Studies have found that cadmium can accumulate in the kidney and that, over time, chronic exposure has been linked to serious health concerns like chronic kidney disease and even renal failure.
Cadmium exposure can also have serious negative effects on your bone health. Researchers believe that the effects of cadmium exposure on your kidney can go on to affect your calcium levels, which are crucial for your bone structure. Additionally, cadmium might also directly affect your bones themselves.
As a result, prolonged cadmium exposure may negatively impact your bone structure. Studies have shown that dietary cadmium exposure was associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures in women, even at low levels. This can also be a major risk for growing children.
There is also some evidence that cadmium exposure in pregnant women can negatively impact the development of their babies. For example, some early studies showed associations between high cadmium levels in expecting mothers and higher rates of preterm birth. Others indicate that babies who are exposed to higher cadmium levels tend to be born with lower birth weights.
Finally, it’s worth noting that cadmium is also often classified as a carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent. Cadmium has been positively linked to lung cancer, specifically among workers who breathe in large amounts of cadmium due to their jobs. However, there is also some evidence that links cadmium to other kinds of cancers like prostate and renal cancer. More research ultimately needs to be done here around ingestion of cadmium rather than inhalation.
How to limit your cadmium exposure
Because extended exposure to cadmium over a period of time can be so dangerous to human health, and since it can enter our drinking water in various ways, it’s well worth taking a look at how our own drinking water is affected.
The good news is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a limit of 0.005 mg/L for cadmium in drinking water. As a result, water treatment plants throughout the country are required to monitor their tap water supply for cadmium and take steps to treat it if the levels exceed this drinking water standard. However, more and more research is finding that cadmium can present serious long-term health risks even in lower concentrations.
What’s more: while public water supply systems are subject to this cadmium limit, the same can’t always be said for private wells. If you get your water from a well that is not subject to treatment and monitoring by local water authorities, you may be more at risk for certain contaminants like cadmium.
So if you want to make sure that you are eliminating as much of this toxic metal from your water supply as you can, it’s a good idea to filter it out yourself, rather than relying on wasteful bottled water! The LARQ Bottle Filtered and LARQ Pitcher PureVis both use innovative Nano Zero technology to filter out any cadmium that might have made its way into your drinking water supply. These filters also target many other common water contaminants like lead, PFAS/PFOA, particulates, and chemicals that may also present health risks. By running your drinking and cooking water through a filter first, you’ll be left with a safer, purer water source for yourself and your family.