What is Cadmium Poisoning?
Cadmium (cd) is a heavy metal used primarily in the production of nickel-cadmium batteries. Workers exposed to cadmium can suffer symptoms such as memory loss, dizziness, headaches, lack of strength, and pain in the back and limbs. In 2006, the European Union banned cadmium in electronics due to its extremely toxic properties.
Workers who suffer from cadmium poisoning may not look sick, and serious health issues may take several years to arise. Once cadmium enters the body, it takes between seven to thirty years for the body to flush it out, which is particularly harmful for the kidneys. Cadmium poisoning has also been linked to kidney failure and cancer. The effects of cadmium poisoning can be fatal. In 2006, Fu Hong Qin, a co-worker of the women featured in RED DUST, died from kidney failure. She had worked at a GP BATTERIES factory for 2 years.
Unsafe workplaces are not uncommon in China. According to the country’s State Administration for Work Safety (SAWS) 2004 report, China has the world’s highest number of occupational disease victims and deaths resulting from occupational diseases.