Renal and blood pressure effects from environmental cadmium exposure in Thai children

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Abstract

Very few studies have shown renal and blood pressure effects from environmental cadmium exposure in children. This population study examined associations between urinary cadmium excretion, a good biomarker of long-term cadmium exposure, and renal dysfunctions and blood pressure in environmentally exposed Thai children. Renal functions including urinary excretion of β2-microglobulin, calcium (early renal effects), and total protein (late renal effect), and blood pressure were measured in 594 primary school children. Of the children studied, 19.0% had urinary cadmium ≥1 μg/g creatinine. The prevalence of urinary cadmium ≥1 μg/g creatinine was significantly higher in girls and in those consuming rice grown in cadmium-contaminated areas. The geometric mean levels of urinary β2-microglobulin, calcium, and total protein significantly increased with increasing tertiles of urinary cadmium. The analysis did not show increased blood pressure with increasing tertiles of urinary cadmium. After adjusting for age, sex, and blood lead levels, the analysis showed significant positive associations between urinary cadmium and urinary β2-microglobulin and urinary calcium, but not urinary total protein nor blood pressure. Our findings provide evidence that environmental cadmium exposure can affect renal functions in children. A follow-up study is essential to assess the clinical significance and progress of renal effects in these children.

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