Blood and urinary cadmium concentrations together with cadmium in air concentrations from the breathing zone of 18 male workers in an alkaline battery factory were determined at regular intervals for 11 consecutive weeks. Nine of the workers examined were smokers and nine non-smokers. Smokers and non-smokers did not differ in age or years of employment. Cadmium in air concentrations varied, but no definite trend was observed. The concentrations of cadmium in the blood and urine were found to be stable. Exposure to airborne cadmium was identical for smokers and non-smokers but average cadmium concentrations in the blood and urine of smokers were approximately twice as high as those in non-smokers. For the whole group, urinary cadmium was significantly correlated with years of employment, but no correlation was found between blood cadmium concentrations and exposure. For non-smokers, the correlation between cadmium in blood and years of employment was statistically significant (p less than 0.001). This finding indicated that blood concentrations of cadmium reflect body burden in non-smokers at current low exposure levels.
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