The cadmium body burden, blood and urine cadmium concentrations, and renal function were studied in a group of 53 cadmium solderers. The results showed raised blood and urine cadmium concentrations and raised cadmium body burden in all workers (31) with more than five years exposure, with 27 having urine cadmium concentrations in excess of the proposed biological threshold of 10 nmol/mmol creatinine. Renal tubular dysfunction was found in 17 of the subjects with more than five years exposure and in one this was associated with glomerular dysfunction. These data indicate that cadmium body burden and frequency of tubular dysfunction in end users of cadmium may be as high as those found in smelters or production workers. Subjects with tubular dysfunction did not show greatly increased urine cadmium concentrations compared with those without dysfunction, supporting a previous suggestion that tubular dysfunction occurs before the wash out of cadmium from the kidney. At the time of our study, cadmium exposure stopped as cadmium free soldering rods were introduced. Repeat urine samples from 19 subjects, one to two years after exposure ended indicated that there was no further increase in the level of excretion of low molecular weight proteins, perhaps indicating that the tubular proteinuria does not increase or more severe renal dysfunction develop without continuous exposure.
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