Low cadmium concentration in whole blood from residents of Northern Sardinia (Italy) with special reference to smoking habits


Introduction. The present study was initiated to investigate the cadmium concentrations in whole blood of Northern Sardinian, non-occupationally exposed adult subjects. Sardinia is a large Italian island which differs genetically and environmentally from other mainland Italian areas. Methods. Two hundred and forty-three adults (157 females and 86 males) were selected in the study area from subjects who were undergoing blood collection for laboratory analysis during the period January 2005-May 2005. Whole blood was analysed by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometer equipped with a Zeeman-effect background corrector (Perkin Elmer ZL5100) and an auto sampler. The adopted analytical procedure uses the Stabilized Platform Temperature Furnace (STPF) technique. Results. The mean value of Blood Cadmium Concentration (BCdC), expressed as Geometric Mean, was 0.32 mg/l (CI 95%: 0.31-0.34 mg/l) significantly ranging from 0.27 mg/l (CI 95%: 0.26-0.29 mg/l) in non-smokers to 0.34 mg/l (CI 95%: 0.30-0.39 mg/l) in ex-smokers up to 0.47 mg/l (CI 95%: 0.42-0.53 mg/l) in smokers (p inf. 0.0001). Discussion. The results show that BCdC levels in Northern Sar- dinian non-occupationally exposed adults are lower than levels found in many other regions, including those within Italy. Nev- ertheless, similar values have been detected in other European countries and cities. Conclusions. In relation to other reports in which data were analysed by strata for smoking habit and age, we found similar BCdC values among non smokers. However, Sardinian smokers seem to show lower levels of blood cadmium.