Increased Urinary Cadmium Levels in Foreign-Born Asian Women—An NHANES Study of 9639 U.S. Participants

Document Type

Journal Article




Cadmium; Environmental exposure; Environmental toxins; Occupational health; Racial disparities; Social determinants of health; Women’s health

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to determine the disparities and trends in demographics, social behaviors, and occupations for cadmium exposure in the U.S. Data were obtained from the NHANES database from 2007 to 2016. Analysis of variance tests were used to compare the association of the geometric mean values of urinary cadmium levels and various demographic and behavioral characteristics. We also conducted multivariable logistic regression while adjusting for these factors to determine the risk of toxic urinary cadmium levels (≥2 µg/g) across various patient characteristics. Of the 9639 participants, 52.8% were ≥45 years old, 51.7% female, and 48.3% male. White, Black, Mexican American, other Hispanic, and Asian comprised 66.4%, 11.5%, 8.7%, 5.8%, and 5.5%, respectively. Over 82% of participants were U.S. born. A total of 19.6% were current smokers. On multivariate analysis, older age (OR: 8.87), current smoking (OR = 5.74), Asian race (OR = 4.52), female sex (OR = 4.32), and foreign nativity (OR = 1.83) were significantly associated with higher cadmium levels. Older, Asian, foreign-born females showed a measurement of 0.69 µg/g, a value more than three-fold the sample population’s mean of 0.20 µg/g. A trend analysis demonstrated a cadmium level decrease over time (OR = 0.47). Asians had the highest urinary cadmium levels, especially older, foreign-born females. Smoking and poverty were also associated with significant elevations in cadmium levels.

Journal Title

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health



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