14 Cadmium


Cadmium is an environmental pollutant with well-studied estrogenic properties that have been linked to breast cancer development (Imran, 2014). 

Researchers at the Gifu Medical School in Japan conducted a clever study to assess the correlation of cadmium in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. They collected urine samples from 431 women who attended a breast cancer mass screening at their hospital. They used urine samples collected from the women after surgery but before any cancer therapy. They compared these with the urine tests taken from those obtained at their normal screening visits. They found significantly higher cadmium levels in women who have breast cancer. Their data suggest that exposure to cadmium is associated with a risk of breast cancer in Japanese women (Nagata, 2013).

Cadmium Sources

Cadmium is also in batteries, polyvinyl chloride plastics, and paint pigments. It can be found in soils because insecticides, fungicides, sludge, and commercial fertilizers that contain cadmium are used in agriculture. Cigarettes are a major source of exposure as cigarette paper is coated in cadmium to slow down the burning process. Lesser-known sources of exposure are dental alloys, electroplating, motor oil, exhaust fumes, and glazed ceramic cookware.

Red and Orange Paint

Cadmium is found in some red pigments that are used in many products from art supplies to cosmetics. 

Look for ‘cadmium-free’ paints.


Many commercial lipstick brands contain cadmium, as well as lead, parabens, and phthalates.  

Natural makeup is free of cadmium. Learn more in Detox Your Bathroom.

Recommended Lab Test

A simple lab test that I use frequently to help my clients determine whether they have elevated heavy metals is the Toxic Element Clearance Profile (gdx.net), a urine test that includes cadmium.

Cadmium Summary Checklist

O Eliminate cadmium-containing items from your home.

O Avoid exposure to cadmium

O Get tested to make sure your body is free of cadmium.

O Take detoxifying supplements, when exposed to cadmium

O Add detoxifying foods to your daily diet.