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Therefore, there are continuing efforts to determine particularly toxic metals such as Pb, Cd and Ni in air phases and food samples (10-14). In considering lead and cadmium in ambient air samples, this importance increases because the absorption rates of those metals by inhalation are significantly higher (up to 50-60%) than those by ingestion (between 3% and 10%) (10). The localized release of some heavy metals from inhaled particulate matter has been hypothesized to be responsible for the lung tissue damage.

Concentrations exceeding 200 µg Cd/g wet weight have previously been estimated to cause tubular dysfunction with decreased reabsorption of proteins from the urine (63). This causes tubular proteinuria with increased excretion of low-molecular-weight proteins such as α,α-1-microglobulin (protein HC), β-2-microglobulin and retinol binding protein (RTB). Recent research suggests, however, that tubular damage may occur at lower levels of cadmium in kidney cortex. As the kidney dysfunction progresses, amino acids, glucose and minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, are also lost into the urine.

It is also used in the production of certain Comprehensive Comparison of Trace Metal Concentrations in Inhaled Air Samples 37 photographic films and in the manufacture of special mirrors and coatings for electronic vacuum tubes. Cadmium oxide is an elecroplating agent, a starting material for PVC heat stabilizers and a component of silver alloys, phosphors, semiconductors and glass and ceramic glazes (60). As a result, cadmium can represent an environmental hazard, and many countries have introduced legislative actions aimed towards decreasing the use and subsequent environmental spread of cadmium.

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