Statement on tolerable weekly intake for cadmium


Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2011;9(2):1975 [19 pp.].
Panel members at the time of adoption
Jan Alexander, Diane Benford, Alan Raymond Boobis, Sandra Ceccatelli, Jean-Pierre Cravedi, Alessandro Di Domenico, Daniel Doerge, Eugenia Dogliotti, Lutz Edler, Peter Farmer, Metka Filipič, Johanna Fink-Gremmels, Peter Fürst, Thierry Guérin, Helle Katrine Knutsen, Miroslav Machala, Antonio Mutti, Josef Rudolf Schlatter and Rolaf van Leeuwen

The Panel wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on cadmium modelling: Billy Amzal, Alan Raymond Boobis, Diane Benford, Clark Carrington, Eugenia Dogliotti, Lutz Edler, and Antonio Mutti for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion, and EFSA staff: José Cortinas Abrahantes and Claudia Heppner for the support provided to this scientific opinion.

Statement of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On request from
European Commission
Question Number
18 January 2011
Published in the EFSA Journal
3 February 2011
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

The Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain of the European Food Safety Authority (CONTAM Panel) was asked by the European Commission to confirm whether the current tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 2.5 µg/kg body weight (b.w.) for cadmium is still considered appropriate or whether any modifications are needed in view of the provisional tolerable monthly intake (PTMI) of 25 µg/kg b.w. established by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) in 2010. Both assessments used the same epidemiological dataset and have two primary components, a concentration-effect model that relates the concentration of cadmium in urine to that of beta-2-microglobulin (B2M), a biomarker of renal tubular effects, and a toxicokinetic model that relates urinary cadmium concentration to dietary cadmium intake. The following methodological differences were identified: i) the identification of the reference point on the basis of the urinary cadmium and the B2M concentration data; ii) the statistical approach to account for the variability and uncertainty of the biomarker of exposure (urinary cadmium concentration) and the biomarker of response (B2M concentration) in the concentration-effect model; and iii) the methodology for transforming urinary cadmium concentrations into dietary intake values.

Following an evaluation of the two approaches, the CONTAM Panel concluded that the approach adopted for its previous opinion on cadmium in food was appropriate and hence the current TWI for cadmium of 2.5 µg/kg b.w. was maintained.

Cadmium, dietary exposure, tolerable weekly intake, provisional tolerable monthly intake
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