cadmium (Cd)

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Hazardous heavy metal used in batteries, electroplating, nuclear reactors, and semiconductors, cadmium is toxic to almost all living organisms. While its maximum allowable concentration is 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air, it can cause changes in the heartbeat rate if inhaled even in minuscule doses (as little as 0.002 micrograms per cubic meter). If ingested in a little larger doses, it can cause severe colitis, diarrhea, vomiting, and hypertension. In moderate to heavy doses it can cause bone porosity and inhibition of body's bone-repair mechanism resulting in severe joint pains and, eventually, immobility due to skeletal collapse.
Like other heavy metals, cadmium accumulates in living tissue and the environment, and moves up the food chain over time (see bioaccumulation).


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