Test Catalog

Test ID: CDCU    
Cadmium/Creatinine Ratio, Urine

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Detecting exposure to cadmium using random urine specimens

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

The toxicity of cadmium resembles the other heavy metals (arsenic, mercury and lead) in that it attacks the kidney; renal dysfunction with proteinuria with slow onset (over a period of years) is the typical presentation. Measurable changes in proximal tubule function, such as decreased clearance of para-aminohippuric acid, also occur over a period of years and precede overt renal failure.


Breathing the fumes of cadmium vapors leads to nasal epithelial deterioration and pulmonary congestion resembling chronic emphysema.


The most common source of cadmium exposure is tobacco smoke, which has been implicated as the primary sources of the metal leading to reproductive toxicity in both males and females.


Chronic exposure to cadmium causes accumulated renal damage. The excretion of cadmium is proportional to creatinine except when renal damage has occurred. Renal damage due to cadmium exposure can be detected by increased cadmium excretion relative to creatinine.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandated (Fed Reg 57:42,102-142,463, September 1992) that all monitoring of employees exposed to cadmium in the workplace should be done using the measurement of urine cadmium and creatinine, expressing the results of mcg of cadmium per gram of creatinine.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

Only orderable as part of profile. For more information, see:

CDUCR / Cadmium/Creatinine Ratio, Random, Urine

HMUCR / Heavy Metal/Creatinine Ratio, with Reflex, Random, Urine

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Cadmium excretion above 3.0 mcg/g creatinine indicates significant exposure to cadmium.


Results above15 mcg/g creatinine are considered indicative of severe exposure.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Collection of urine specimens through a catheter frequently results in elevated values, because rubber contains trace amounts of cadmium that are extracted as urine passes through the catheter.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. deBurbure C, Buchet J-P, Leroyer A, et al: Renal and neurologic effects of cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic in children: Evidence of early effects and multiple interactions at environmental exposure levels. Environ Health Perspect. 2006;114:584-590

2. Schulz C, Angerer J, Ewers U, et al: Revised and new reference values for environmental pollutants in urine or blood of children in Germany derived from the German Environmental Survey on Children 2003-2006(GerESIV) Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2009;212:637-647

3. Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Cadmium exposure and control. Updated 9/2/2008. Accessed July 17, 2020. US Department of Labor Available at osha.gov/SLTC/cadmium/evaluation.html

4. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: Toxicological profile for cadmium. US Department of Health and Human Services. September 2012. Available at www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp5.pdf

5. Strathmann FG, Blum LM: Toxic elements. In: Rifai N, Horwath AR., Wittwer CT, eds. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. 6th ed. Elsevier; 2018:chap 42

Special Instructions Library of PDFs including pertinent information and forms related to the test