Cadmium (Including Cadmium Compounds)

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock #505654773. Paint and other coatings that could contain cadmium  should be safely removed from metal pipes and other objects before hot work begins

Paint and other coatings that could contain cadmium  should be safely removed from metal pipes and other objects before hot work begins.

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

Damage to kidneys, lungs, and bones, plus added risk for lung cancer, are certainly worthwhile reasons for preventing or minimizing exposure to cadmium (and compounds) at work.

Cadmium can be found in countless consumer and industrial products or materials, including the following:

  • Paints, primers, and other protective coatings.
  • Rechargeable Ni-Cd batteries.
  • Phosphate fertilizers.
  • Some silver solder products.
  • Some plastics.
  • Solar cells made by "thin-film technology" (cadmium telluride).

Without proper safety precautions workers can inhale or ingest hazardous amounts of cadmium while products or materials are being made, recycled, electroplated, or sprayed. Workers can also breathe airborne cadmium particles when welding or abrading objects coated with cadmium paints and primers.

Information provided in this topic page can help employers and employees identify and evaluate existing or potential safety and health hazards. It also provides resources to help with training, preventive methods, and required written safety and health programs.

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