September 17, 2020

European Chemicals Agency Proposes OELs for Cadmium

A new scientific report (PDF) published by the European Chemicals Agency includes ECHA’s recommendations regarding occupational exposure limits for cadmium and its inorganic compounds. The agency recommends the current OEL of 0.001 mg/m3 (inhalable fraction) as an eight-hour time-weighted average together with a biological limit value, or BLV, of 0.002 mg/g creatinine for cadmium in urine. The report explains that the concentration of cadmium in urine reflects long-term exposure better than blood concentrations, which indicate recent exposure. ECHA states that its proposal to apply the OEL and proposed BLV together is intended to consider total body burden.

“The current OEL does not take into consideration previous (high) exposure to cadmium or indirect exposure via other routes than inhalation,” the report says. “A BLV is considered important for the protection of workers, in order to ensure that the accumulation of cadmium in the body does not become too high.”

ECHA does not propose a 15-minute short-term exposure limit because “the key effects of cadmium are related to long term exposure.”

The agency will accept public comments on its OEL proposal until Nov. 12, 2020. More information on submitting comments is available on ECHA’s website.