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Water Science & Technology Vol 25 No 11 pp 149–156 © IWA Publishing 1992

Water Pollution by Cadmium and the Onset of Itai-itai Disease

M. Kasuya, H. Teranishi, K. Aoshima, T. Katoh, H. Horiguchi, Y. Morikawa, M. Nishijo and K. Iwata

Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Sugitani 2630, Toyama 930-01, Japan


Cadmium (Cd) from a zinc mine polluted Jinzu River basin, Toyama prefecture and produced a disease with severe bone pain (Itai-itai disease), from the early part of the 20th century. Cd caused renal tubular dysfunction and osteomalacia accompanied by osteoporosis. The main symptoms of the disease were bone pain, pseud fracture (Looser's zone), fracture, and renal tubular dysfunction. The pollution of paddy-field soil by Cd still remains and our epidemio1ogica1 studies of the inhabitants living in the Cd-polluted areas show the presence of renal tubular dysfunction and decrease of bone mass; characteristic of Itai-itai disease.

Keywords: Cadmium; water pollution; soil pollution; Itai-itai disease; renal tubular dysfunction; osteomalacia.

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