Toxic substances list: inorganic cadmium compounds

Cadmium is an elemental metal that is found  in the  environment as a result of both natural processes (including forest fires, volcanic emissions and weathering of soil, till, and bedrock) and human activities. Cadmium is found in many products like batteries, paints and coatings, ceramics, plastics and solar cells.  Human activities such as metal production (particularly base metal smelting and refining), stationary fuel combustion (power generation and heating), and other industrial activities are responsible for most of the cadmium in the environment. Cadmium in the environment is almost always found together with other elements to form what are called inorganic compounds.

Inorganic cadmium compounds can travel far from the source of release and are present in soil, sediments, water, and air. Some inorganic cadmium compounds are toxic to plants, animals, and humans; however, its toxicity varies depending on environmental conditions. Plants and animals accumulate cadmium in their tissues when inorganic cadmium compounds are present in the air, water, and food that they breathe, drink and eat. If there is too much cadmium in the body, it can lead to reduced growth, organ damage, cancer, cognitive and developmental delays, changes in behaviour, and reduced ability to reproduce.

Inorganic cadmium compounds were one of the first substances added to the List of Toxic Substances (Schedule 1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Recognizing the value of a healthy environment, the Government of Canada has implemented regulations to address human exposure to cadmium and the main sources of cadmium release to the environment.

There is more than one CAS number that applies to this group of substances.

Risk assessment


This substance is entering the environment from the following source(s):

For more information on the sources of cadmium in Canada, consult the National Pollutant Release Inventory and the Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory.

Risk management strategy

Based on past assessment activities and risk management actions, it was determined that the risks of inorganic cadmium compounds were addressed by the implementation of the Toxic Substances Management Policy and existing measures for key industrial sectors or similar pollutants. As a result, no substance-specific risk management approach or strategy for cadmium was developed.

Risk management evaluation

Evaluations of Canada’s efforts to manage risks to the environment and human health caused by inorganic cadmium compounds:

Risk Management Tool(s)

Tool(s) developed to manage risks associated with the substance:

International engagement

Canada's international engagement:

Other information


Substances Management Information Line
Chemicals Management Plan
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3

Telephone: 1-800-567-1999  (in Canada) or 819-938-3232
Fax: 819-938-3231

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