Open Access Open Badges Research article

Low level exposure to cadmium increases the risk of chronic kidney disease: analysis of the NHANES 1999-2006

Pietro Manuel Ferraro, Stefano Costanzi, Alessandro Naticchia, Antonio Sturniolo and Giovanni Gambaro*

Author Affiliations

Division of Nephrology and Dialysis, Columbus-Gemelli University Hospital, Renal Program, Catholic University, Rome, Italy

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:304  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-304

Published: 3 June 2010



Environmental factors have been associated with the outbreak of chronic kidney disease (CKD). We evaluated the association of Cadmium (Cd) exposure with the risk of CKD in U.S. adults who participated in the 1999-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES).


5426 subjects ≥ 20 years were stratified for values of urinary and blood Cd and a multivariate logistic regression was performed to test the association between blood and urinary Cd, CKD and albuminuria (ALB) after adjustment for age, gender, race/ethnicity, body mass index and smoking habits.


Subjects with urinary Cd > 1 mcg/g and subjects with blood Cd > 1 mcg/L showed a higher association with ALB (OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.23, 2.16; P = 0.001). Subjects with blood Cd > 1 mcg/L showed a higher association with both CKD (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.01, 2.17; P = 0.046) and ALB (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.10, 1.82; P = 0.007). An interaction effect on ALB was found for high levels of urinary and blood Cd (P = 0.014).


Moderately high levels of urinary and blood Cd are associated with a higher proportion of CKD and ALB in the United States population.