Why is Cadmium used in Fertilizer ? – A Carcinogen known to cause Cancer


                                                    Courtesy of BioAg.com.au

Both Cadmium and Fluorine being used in Australia as Agricultural Fertilizers. Cadmium’s use in Fertilizers is contradictory to the Medical Associations and Occupational Health and Safety advice on Cadmium toxicity.

See Waikato Studies on Cadmium Soil levels and it’s effects on future farming.

Wikipedia excerpt:

Cadmium (Cd) is a soft, malleable, bluish white metal found in zinc ores, and to a much lesser extent, in the cadmium mineral greenockite. In 2011, US production of cadmium was estimated at 600 metric tons, down approximately 40% from the production levels 20 years ago (1992).

Most of the cadmium produced today is obtained from zinc byproducts and recovered from spent nickel-cadmium batteries. First discovered in Germany in 1817, cadmium found early use as a pigment because of its ability to produce brilliant yellow, orange, and red colors.

Cadmium became an important metal in the production of nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) rechargeable batteries and as a sacrificial corrosion-protection coating for iron and steel. Common industrial uses for cadmium today are in batteries, alloys, coatings (electroplating), solar cells, plastic stabilizers, and pigments. Cadmium is also used in nuclear reactors where it acts as a neutron absorber.

While lithium ion batteries have made significant gains in popularity for lightweight electronic devices, new market opportunities for industrial applications of Ni-Cd batteries will continue to fuel cadmium use. Increased investment in solar power will also drive cadmium use in the future. China, South Korea, and Japan are the leading producers of cadmium in the world, followed by North America.

Cadmium and its compounds are highly toxic and exposure to this metal is known to cause cancer and targets the body’s cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems.

Requirements to protect workers from cadmium exposure are addressed in specific OSHA cadmium standards covering general industry (1910.1027), shipyards (1915.1027), construction (1926.1127) and agriculture (1928.1027).


The concentration of cadmium in phosphorus-containing fertilizers varies considerably and can be problematic.[44] For example, mono-ammonium phosphate fertilizer may have a cadmium content of as low as 0.14 mg/kg or as high as 50.9 mg/kg.[45] This is because the phosphate rock used in their manufacture can contain as much as 188 mg/kg cadmium[46] (examples are deposits on Nauru[47] and the Christmas islands[48]). Continuous use of high-cadmium fertilizer can contaminate soil (as shown in New Zealand)[49] and plants.[50] Limits to the cadmium content of phosphate fertilizers has been considered by the European Commission.[51][52][53] Producers of phosphorus-containing fertilizers now select phosphate rock based on the cadmium content.[28]


Phosphate rocks contain high levels of fluoride. Consequently, the widespread use of phosphate fertilizers has increased soil fluoride concentrations.[50] It has been found that food contamination from fertilizer is of little concern as plants accumulate little fluoride from the soil; of greater concern is the possibility of fluoride toxicity to livestock that ingest contaminated soils.[54][55] Also of possible concern are the effects of fluoride on soil microorganisms.[54][55][56]

Source: Fertilizer – Wikipedia