Cadmium exposure and early renal effects in the children and adults
living in a tungsten-molybdenum mining areas of South China
Received: 25 August 2017 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published online: 19 March 2018
Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018
Adverse health effects related to accumulative cadmium (Cd) exposure have aroused widespread attention from the public in
China. Knowledge on the relationships between Cd exposure and early renal effects is particularly limited for children, who are
more susceptible to absorbing metals than adults. A typical Cd-polluted area of South China was selected to determine the Cd
exposure and related early renal effects of the general population, including children. In total, 211 children and 806 adults were
enrolled in the study. The urinary levels of Cd (U-Cd), β
-microglobulin (U-BMG), retinol binding protein (U-RBP), and N-
-glucosaminidase (U-NAG) were measured. The relationship between U-Cd and ranked indicators of early renal
effects was examined by multiple regression analysis. The average U-Cd ranged from 7.01 μg/g creatinine (boys) to
13.55 μg/g creatinine (women) in the Cd-polluted areas. These values are much higher than those of the control group and those
that have been reported by other countries. In agreement with previous studies, environmental Cd pollution resulted in elevated
Cd accumulation in the bodies of children, and it increased the concentration of NAG in their urine. Similarly, environmental Cd
pollution increased NAG and BMG in the urine of adults. Multivariate models showed that the urinary excretion of BMG, RBP,
and NAG was positively associated with Cd levels in the urine of both children and adults. The reference thresholds of U-Cd in
relation to elevated U-BMG, U-RBP, and U-NAG were higher in children than adults after standardization for other covariates.
These results reinforce the need to control and regulate the sources of environmental Cd contamination and to promote more
effective risk management measures, especially for vulnerable groups.
• Exposure to environmental Cd from tungsten-molybdenum mining ac-
tivities has resulted in increased Cd accumulation in the bodies of school
children, elevated excretion of U-NAG in the investigated school chil-
dren and adults, and elevated U-BMG in adults.
• The urinary excretion of NAG, BMG, and RBP is significantly affected
by cadmium in the urine of both children and adults after an adjustment
for other covariates.
• Reference doses of U-Cd in relation to the elevation of early renal effect
indicators were higher in children than adults.
Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article
(https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-1631-0) contains supplementary
material, which is available to authorized users.
* Hongguang Cheng
* Andrea Critto
School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, No. 19
Xinjiekouwai Street, Beijing 100875, People’sRepublicofChina
Green Development Institute, Beijing Normal University,
Beijing 100875, People’sRepublicofChina
Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics,
University Ca’ Foscari, Venice, Italy
Environmental Science and Pollution Research (2018) 25:15089–15101