OBJECTIVES--To study the body burden of cadmium and signs of tubular dysfunction in a rural population living near a closed nickel cadmium battery plant. METHODS--Cadmium and N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase (NAG) in urine were measured in 72 subjects who lived close to the plant. RESULTS--Residents living close to the plant had higher median urinary cadmium concentrations than those living farther away (1.01 v 0.46 nmol/mmol creatinine) and than a control group (0.2 nmol/mmol creatinine). There was a significant correlation between urinary cadmium and the excretion of NAG in urine as well as signs of tubular dysfunction in residents who excreted urinary cadmium above 0.5 nmol/mmol creatinine. CONCLUSION--Tubular dysfunction may appear in environmentally exposed subjects at lower cadmium body burdens than previously anticipated.
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