Management: Health Aspects of Crop Uptake Sludge-Amended Soil and Recommendations
M Sludge - Environmental Management -
... "Solid waste containing cadmium concentrations in excess of 25 mg/kg dry weight
is not applied to sites where tobacco, leafy vegetables, or root crops are or ...
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Environmental Management (Historical Archive)
Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York
ISSN: 0364-152X (Paper) 1432-1009 (Online)
DOI: 10.1007/BF01867027
Issue:  Volume 3, Number 2

Date:  March 1979
Pages: 155 - 158  
Municipal sludge management: Health aspects of crop uptake of cadmium from sludge-amended soil
and recommendations for regulation
William H. Hallenbeck1

(1)  School of Public Health, University of Illinois at the Medical Center, P.O. Box 6998, 60680 Chicago,

Abstract  Regulations have been proposed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to
promote the proper management of sludge disposal on croplands. The application of municipal sludge
to croplands raises serious questions concerning the increase in dietary levels of metals resulting from
metal uptake by crops. A model is presented that affords a quantitative estimate of the dietary increase
of metals when foods are derived from sludge-amended soil. If a diet or part of a diet is derived
completely from sludge-amended soil, it is likely to be excessive in cadmium and pose a clear health
hazard. Recommendations designed to reduce the potential health threat of excessive metals in the
diet are presented.
Key words  Sludge management - Sludge-amended soil - Crop uptake of cadmium - Cadmium toxicity

Cadmium exposure and nephropathy in a 28-year-old female metals worker.

Wittman R, Hu H.

Occupational Health Program, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health,
Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

A 28-year-old female presented for evaluation of left flank pain and polyuria after having been exposed
to cadmium in the jewelry manufacturing industry for approximately 3 years. This patient possessed
both elevated 24-hr urinary ss2-microglobulin and elevated blood cadmium levels. Approximately 6
months after initial presentation, the patient resigned from her job due to shortness of breath, chest
pain, and anxiety. Exposure to cadmium in the jewelry industry is a significant source of occupational
cadmium exposure. Other occupational sources include the manufacture of nickel-cadmium batteries,
metal plating, zinc and lead refining, smelting of cadmium and lead, and production of plastics.
Cadmium is also an environmental pollutant that accumulates in leafy vegetables and plants, including
tobacco. Major toxicities anticipated from cadmium exposure involve the renal, pulmonary, and, to a
lesser extent, gastrointestinal systems. These include the development of renal proximal tubular
dysfunction, glomerular damage with progressive renal disease, and respiratory symptoms including
pneumonitis and emphysema. Low-level cadmium exposure has also been associated with increased
urinary calcium excretion and direct bone toxicity, effects that recent research suggests may result in
the development of osteoporosis. The body burden of cadmium, over half of which may reside in the
kidneys, is most often measured through the use of urinary cadmium levels. Blood cadmium
measurements generally reflect current or recent exposure and are especially useful in cases with a
short exposure period and only minimal accumulation of cadmium in the kidneys. Both ss2-
microglobulin and alpha1-microglobulin serve as organ-specific, early-effect biomarkers of tubular
proteinuria and thus play a role in identifying early signs of cadmium-induced renal damage in those
with potential exposures. In addition to ensuring workplace compliance with Occupational Safety and
Health Administration-mandated monitoring and screening measures, it is prudent for those with
cadmium exposure to maintain adequate intake of both iron and calcium, appropriate measures even in
the absence of exposure.

Safe levels of cadmium intake to prevent renal toxicity in human subjects
Authors: Satarug S.1, *; Haswell-Elkins M.R.1; Moore M.R.1

Source: British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 84, Number 6, December 2000, pp. 791-802(12)

Publisher: CABI Publishing

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The present review attempts to provide an update of the scientific knowledge on the renal toxicity which
occurs in human subjects as a result of chronic ingestion of low-level dietary Cd. It highlights important
features of Cd toxicology and sources of uncertainty in the assessment of health risk due to dietary Cd.
It also discusses potential mechanisms for increased susceptibility to Cd toxicity in individuals with
diabetes. Exposure assessment on the basis of Cd levels in foodstuffs reveals that vegetables and
cereals are the main sources of dietary Cd, although Cd is also found in meat, albeit to a lesser extent.
Cd accumulates particularly in the kidney and liver, and hence offal contains relatively high amounts.
Fish contains only small quantities of Cd, while crustaceans and molluscs may accumulate larger
amounts from the aquatic environment. Data on Cd accumulation in human kidney and liver obtained
from autopsy studies are presented, along with results of epidemiological studies showing the
relationship between renal tubular dysfunction and kidney Cd burden. These findings suggest that a
kidney Cd level of 50 g/g wet weight is a maximum tolerable level in order to avoid abnormal kidney
function. This renal Cd burden corresponds to a urinary Cd excretion of 2 g/d. Accordingly, safe daily
levels of Cd intake should be kept below 30 g per person. Individual variations in Cd absorption and
sensitivity to toxicity predicts that a dietary Cd intake of 30 g/d may result in a slight renal dysfunction in
about 1 % of the adult population. The previous guideline for a maximum recommended Cd intake of 1
g/kg body weight per d is thus shown to be too high to ensure that renal dysfunction does not occur as
a result of dietary Cd intake.

Keywords: Dietary cadmium; Cadmium body burden; Kidney toxicity; Zinc homeostasis; Diabetic renal

Language: English

Document Type: Research article

Affiliations: 1: 1National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology and 2Indigenous Primary Health
Program, The University of Queensland, 39 Kessels Road, Coopers Plains, Brisbane 4108,
Queensland, Australia

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Applying biosolids to acid soils in NSW: Are guideline soil metal limits from other countries appropriate?

M. S. Whatmuff


In New South Wales (NSW) the use of biosolids (sewage sludge) as a soil amendment has become a
major issue for regulatory authorities because of the potential impact of biosolids metal contaminants
on agricultural produce. Although guidelines regulating the use of biosolids in other countries are
based on extensive data sets, these were collected under different soil and climatic conditions than
those found locally. This experiment was carried out to determine whether guideline soil metal limits
from other countries are appropriate for regulating biosolids application under acid soil conditions that
occur in NSW and whether a more intensive series of field experiments needed to be carried out. The
uptake of biosolids Cd and Zn by silverbeet (swiss chard, Beta vulgaris) was assessed on soils differing
in pHC (4.2–5.8) (pH measured in 0.01 M CaCl2) and soil metal loading (0.53–2.82 mg Cd/kg and 54–
159 mg Zn/kg) in the glasshouse and field. Metal uptake by our field-grown silverbeet was >10-fold
higher for Cd and >20-fold higher for Zn than was predicted from the slope of the metal uptake
response curve for leafy vegetables used in US EPA biosolids guidelines. For some treatments, leaf
tissue Cd levels exceeded the maximum permissible concentration for Cd in foodstuffs, and Zn levels
were above phytotoxicity thresholds (with some yield reduction) when silverbeet was grown on soils with
Cd and Zn concentrations well below soil metal limit concentrations in the United States biosolids
guidelines and equal to levels set in the United Kingdom. In addition, biosolids metal uptake under
glasshouse conditions was more than twice that in field-grown plants. These results clearly demonstrate
the importance of developing NSW-specific biosolids guidelines. Biosolids regulations in NSW should be
based on uptake data for a wide range of important food chain and pasture crop species collected in
the field and grown under local conditions.

Keywords: cadmium, zinc, leafy vegetables, swiss chard, uptake response slope.

Australian Journal of Soil Research 40(6) 1941 - 1056

Full text doi:10.1071/SR99066

Environment, Development and Sustainability
Publisher: Springer Science+Business Media B.V., Formerly Kluwer Academic Publishers B.V.
ISSN: 1387-585X (Paper) 1573-2975 (Online)
DOI: 10.1023/A:1010061711331
Issue:  Volume 2, Number 1

Date:  March 2000
Pages: 13 - 21  
Cadmium Concentration in Vegetables Grown on Urban Soils Irrigated with Untreated Municipal Sewage
M. Qadir1, 2 , A. Ghafoor3, 2, G. Murtaza3, 2 and G. MURTAZA3, 2

(1)  Department of Soil Science, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-, 38040, Pakistan
(2)  Present address: Institut für Pflanzenernährung, Universität Giessen, Interdisziplinäres
Forschungszentrum, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32, 35392 Giessen, Germany
(3)  Department of Soil Science, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-, 38040, Pakistan

Abstract  Cadmium (Cd) is considered as a potential toxin that is principally dispersed in natural and
agricultural environments through anthropogenic sources. Untreated municipal sewage, often a
potential source of Cd, is generally used to irrigate urban agricultural soils in many developing
countries. A study was carried out to determine Cd concentration in untreated municipal sewage and
sewage-irrigated soils and vegetables. The metal ion concentration in municipal sewage was found 3-
fold (0.03mgL–1) its permissible concentration in irrigation water (0.01mgL–1). Ammonium bicarbonate–
diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid NH4HCO3–DTPA) extractable Cd concentration in top 0.15m soil
ranged between 0.25 and 0.34mgkg–1. Soil Cd concentration was significantly correlated with soil clay
content, pH, electrical conductivity, and cation exchange capacity. Cadmium availability index (CDI)
decreased with an increase in soil depth. The metal ion was found in leaf (0.17–0.24mgkg–1 fresh
weight) and fruit (0.07–0.18mgkg–1 fresh weight) portions of all the sampled vegetables: bitter gourd
(Momordica charantia L.), cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L.), eggplant (Solanum melongena L.),
fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum L.), okra [Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench], onion (Allium
cepa L.), pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.), and spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.). Leafy tissue accumulated
Cd about twice that of the fruit portion. Our results suggest that prolonged ingestion of sewage-irrigated
leafy vegetables can develop such Cd levels in human body that may cause a number of illnesses.
cadmium - human health - municipal sewage - soil contamination - vegetables

Issn: 1552-8618
Journal: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Volume: 17 Issue: 11 Pages: 2274-2281
Authors: McBride, Murray B.
Article ID:10.1897/1551-5028(1998)017<2274:GFCOSA>2.3.CO;2

Abstract–The use of sewage sludges as farm fertilizers, encouraged in recent years by changes in U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) policy, has raised concerns among some scientists
regarding food safety and long-term soil productivity. The U.S. EPA risk assessment for entry into the
human diet of three of the most toxic metals, cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), and lead (Pb), utilized
uptake coefficients (UCs) to calculate the amount of each metal that could enter food crops from the
soil. Each UC was calculated as the increment of metal concentration in the edible part of the crop per
unit increase of metal loading to the soil. However, the final UC estimates employed in the risk
assessment are biased toward low values by a number of factors. These include the use of geometric
means to obtain single-point averages of UCs for each crop group evaluated, rather than using
arithmetic means or probabilistic methods, a systematic analytical or contamination error apparent in
the reported metal concentrations of the control crops, and the fact that most of the UC values were
derived for soils with pH 6 or higher. For more than 50% of all the soil and cropping conditions
represented in the risk assessment, the geometrically averaged Cd UC values used by the U.S. EPA
underestimated the actual risk posed by uptake into crops. The UC values for Pb and Hg are uncertain
because of analytical or contamination errors, and because of the few data available for a number of
crops. These uncertainties and biases in the risk assessment would advise a more cautious approach
to agricultural and home garden use of sewage sludge than is permitted by the U.S. EPA 503 rule.

Water, Air, & Soil Pollution  Publisher: Springer Science+Business Media B.V., Formerly Kluwer
Academic Publishers B.V.  ISSN: 0049-6979 (Paper) 1573-2932 (Online)  DOI: 10.1023/A:
1024558228180  Issue:  Volume 147, Numbers 1-4   Date:  July 2003  Pages: 109 - 127   

Cadmium Uptake by Lettuce from Soil Amended with Phosphorus and Trace Element Fertilizers B.
Huang1   , S. Kuo1  and R. Bembenek1  (1)  Department of Crop and Soil Science, Washington State
University, Puyallup, WA, U.S.A    

Abstract  Some phosphorus and trace element fertilizers may contain elevatedamounts of toxic metals
such as cadmium (Cd) and repeated uses of the fertilizers at high rates over time may increase Cd
uptake by plants. This greenhouse study investigated the availability to leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.)
(Royal Green) of Cd in a western phosphate rock (PR), and a zinc (G-Zn) and an iron (IR) fertilizers
that are by products of industrial wastes. The water-soluble CdCl2 was included in the study for
comparison. Applications of Cd from the fertilizers orCdCl2 up to 16 times the Canadian Standards for
maximum annual Cd loading limit increased soil total Cd. This was true also for the labileCd extractable
by DTPA (diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid) or 0.05 M CaCl2 for all Cd sources except IR. Lime and
Cd source and rate allaffected Cd availability in the soil and accumulation by the plant. Theadded Cd
from CdCl2 was more labile and readily available to the plant than the added Cd from the PR or G-Zn.
Lettuce-Cd was best describedby CaCl2-Cd (r2 = 0.782), followed by DTPA-Cd (r2 = 0.686), with soil
total Cd being least effective in predicting lettuce-Cd (r2 = 0.186). If soil total Cd has to be used in
describing Cd accumulation bythe plant, it should be included with pH in a stepwise multiple regression.
The Cd transfer coefficient for the fertilizers should be measured based on labile Cd extractable by
CaCl2 or DPTA, instead of soil total Cd. The labile-based Cd transfer coefficient could improve the
assessment ofthe risk of human exposure to the metal in the fertilizers through consumption of the food
crop. cadmium - lettuce - phosphorus fertilizers - trace element fertilizers - cadmium transfer coefficient