What are the risks with Cadmium?

Cadmium is a naturally occurring heavy metal. It is present in the rock used to make superphosphate. The cadmium levels in New Zealand soils and in New Zealand foods are not a major environmental problem, nor are they affecting the nation's health.

Research has shown the cadmium levels in a range of popular fruit and vegetables grown in New Zealand to be low and in line with New Zealand’s major trading partners.

These findings are reflected in the New Zealand Total Diet Study – with the most recent results (2009)  the estimated monthly dietary exposure to cadmium (in representative foods) is well below the Provisional Tolerable Monthly Intake (PTMI) level (as set by the World Health Organisation).

The levels of cadmium in the 2009 NZTDS foods were generally consistent with internationally documented levels.  Cadmium estimated monthly dietary exposures ranged from a low 1/5 of the PTMI  for the 19-24 year young males to less than half of the PTMI for the 5-6 year children and the 1-3 year toddlers.

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