EPA Designation Regulated
EPA Classification Inorganic Chemicals
EPA Levels 1,2 0.005 MCLG (mg/L)
0.005 MCLG (mg/L)
Alternative Names none
Sources Corrosion of galvanized pipes; erosion of natural deposits; discharge from metal refineries; runoff from waste batteries and paints
Cadmium is a metal used in the steel and plastic industries; it is released from corrosion of galvanized pipes, runoff from metal refineries, waste batteries and paints; contamination from fertilizers; and erosion of natural deposits.


Cadmium is a metal found in natural deposits such as ores containing other elements.


Cadmium is used primarily for metal plating and coating operations, including transporation equipment, machinery and baking enamels, photography, and television phosphors. It is also used in nickel-cadmium solar batteries and pigments.

Health Effects

Some people who drink water containing cadmium well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for many years could experience kidney damage.

EPA Data Source: Cadmium

EPA Definitions:

1Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) - The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) - The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG) - The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.

(TT) Treatment Technique - A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL) - The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

2 Units are in milligrams per liter (mg/L) unless otherwise noted. Milligrams per liter are equivalent to parts per million.