Cadmium is regarded as one of the most toxic metals, although there is no rigid order of toxicity of trace metals in the environment [1, 2]. The acute toxicity of cadmium upon inhalation or ingestion was recognized long ago and its chronic toxic effect on workers exposed to dust and vapor has been known approximately since 1948 . Pollution by cadmium in aquatic systems appears to be less widespread than that by mercury, but has nonetheless had hazardous effects on humans. During 1947 an unusual and painful disease was recorded as of a “rheumatic nature” in the case of 44 patients from villages on the banks of the Jintsu River, Toyama Prefecture, Japan. It became later known as the “itai-itai” disease (meaning “ouch-ouch”) in accordance with the patients’ shrieks resulting from painful skeletal deformities; it is estimated that approximately 100 deaths occurred due to the disease until the end of 1965 . However, the cause of itai-itai disease was completely unknown until 1961 when sufficient evidence led to the postulation that cadmium plays a role in its development . Based on the findings of further government-supported studies, the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare declared in 1968: “The itai-itai disease is caused by chronic cadmium poisoning, on condition of the existence of such inducing factors as pregnancy, lactation, imbalance in internal secretion, aging, deficiency of calcium, etc.” .
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