Cadmium: A Serious Heavy Metal and Topic


By Teri Arranga
Contributing Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.


We have been looking at the Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, April 2012 editorial titled “A Research Strategy to Discover the Environmental Causes of Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.”  The editorial was published with four other papers that suggested a link between toxic chemicals and autism.  CEHC developed a list of 10 chemicals suspected to contribute to autism and learning disabilities that are found in consumer products, which were as follows:

1.     Lead
2.     Methylmercury
3.     PCBs
4.     Organophosphate pesticides
5.     Organochlorine pesticides
6.     Endocrine disruptors
7.     Automotive exhaust
8.     Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
9.     Brominated flame retardants
10.   Perfluorinated compounds

As I have reported previously in Kirkman’s newsletter, contaminants have also been found in nutritional supplements.  I’ve been examining a toxin that is found in supplements and/or other consumer products, correlating the toxin to the contaminants screened for in the manufacture of the Kirkman’s Ultra Tested®  line of nutritional supplements.

Of the list above, according to the Minnesota Department of Health’s Children’s Environmental Health division, metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium are of particular concern.  These metals especially affect the nervous system of a developing child.  Today I am looking at cadmium, which is found in number seven on this list:  automotive exhaust.

Cadmium is among the most toxic of the heavy metals.  Cumulative effects of cadmium may include bone pain, fractures, cancer, and kidney failure.  Cadmium gets into soil, water, and air by non-ferrous metal mining and refining, the manufacture and application of phosphate fertilizers, fossil fuel combustion, and waste incineration and disposal.  So, cadmium pollution can result from car exhaust, and it can be found in shellfish, organ meats, leafy vegetables, potatoes, grains, and more.  Cadmium is also in secondhand smoke.

A 2001 article in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, “Cadmium in Zinc-Containing Mineral Supplements,” stated that “Seven zinc-containing dietary supplements were analyzed for zinc (Zn) and cadmium (Cd) by inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometry (ICP/MS). Cadmium was detected in all samples; however, the amount of Cd per 15 mg Zn (the daily US Recommended Dietary Allowance) varied by over 37-fold. . . . Because Cd is a non-essential potentially toxic element for humans, its concentration in nutritional supplements should be minimized and possibly regulated by government-established standards.”

In 2003, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study titled “Zinc Supplement Use and Risk of Prostate Cancer.”  This report informed readers that “zinc and cadmium have very similar chemical properties and are invariably found together in nature.”  It continued by stating, “All commercially available zinc supplements that [were] analyzed contained detectable levels of cadmium; however, the amounts varied by almost 40-fold when based on a fixed amount of zinc.”  The authors also state that “It has been suggested that even small repeated low doses of cadmium could accumulate in the body and mimic the activities of zinc, leading to the adverse effects on prostate health associated with cadmium intake.”

On May 20, 2011, the European Union (EU) banned cadmium in jewelry, plastics, and brazing sticks, effective as of December 2011, citing cadmium’s carcinogenicity and toxicity in aquatic environments.  The EU also stated that this measure would help protect children.

Thankfully, Kirkman® also cares about protecting children, and every one of Kirkman’s Ultra Tested® products – including zinc — is screened for cadmium.  What this means is that Kirkman® uses the most advanced state-of-the-art equipment available, including mass spectrometers, for heavy metal testing, screening for contaminants with exacting precision up to parts per trillion.

Kirkman® exceeds FDA requirements so that your family’s health can excel!


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2 Responses to Cadmium: A Serious Heavy Metal and Topic

  1. Interesting article. I’m looking for a zinc supplement that contains certifiably negligible cadmium levels. I see from your website that you sell the following zinc-containing products:

    0023-100 Zinc 20 mg – Bio-Max Series- Hypoallergenic
    0023-250 Zinc 20 mg – Bio-Max Series- Hypoallergenic
    0049-008 Zinc Liquid
    0497-016 Zinc Liquid – New Formulation
    0423-090 Zinc Picolinate 25 mg – Hypoallergenic
    0254-004 Zinc Sulfate Topical Cream
    0358-090 Zinc with Vitamin C and Slippery Elm Lozenges

    Can you tell me the cadmium levels in each of the products, and the analytic procedure used? I’m a chemist. A second question: why are your cadmium levels lower than other manufacturers’ zinc supplements? Please reply to Thanks very much.

    • Larry Newman says:

      The testing limits on all our zinc supplements is less than 2.5 micrograms of Cadmium per the stated daily dose on the label. We use zinc raw material sources which have the lowest heavy metal limits available. That is how we can guarantee such low levels. Cadmium and all other heavy metals are tested by ICP Mass Spec. equipment manufactured by Agilent.

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