S!R,—On Jan. 19, 1979, the Department of the Environsuddenly informed the people of Shipham, Somerset,


that their village was contaminated by considerable quantities of the toxic metal cadmium from nearby extinct calamine workings. The villagers were advised to stop smoking and to avoid locally grown foodstuffs, pending further investigations. This announcement attracted very wide publicity in the local, national, and international press with alarmist headlines which caused considerable anxiety to the villagers. References were made to itai-itai disease, a type of severe osteomalacia related to heavy environmental cadmium contamination in

It will be very important to carry out further detailed studies at Shipham, not only on account of the villagers themselves but also because such an investigation should serve as a model example for future environmental problems. We


the assistance and aid of the Radiochemical

Centre, Amersham; the International Atomic Energy Agency; E. G. and G. Instruments Ltd; 1. L. Z. R. 0.; and T. V. Eye. Manor Hospital, Walsall WS2 9PS, and Department of Medicine, University of Birmingham

Japan. As a result of this publicity, the Thames Television T. V. Eye programme mounted an investigative survey on cadmium in which we-with others-were asked to assist because of our long interest in relating body burdens of cadmium to poisoning.1.2 On absorption, cadmium is bound to proteins and stored in liver and kidney tissue. Toxic effects may occur when a critical threshold is exceeded. We have used the non-invasive system of in-vivo neutron-activation analysis to measure liver and kidney cadmium in situ in an attempt to define these threshold levels3.4 and have constructed a simple, transportable system to study people in their environment.5 With the logistic assistance of T. V. Eye, the concurrence of local medical practitioners, and the consent of volunteers we visited the village and carried out a pilot study on twenty-one adults living in the most heavily contaminated areas of Shipham. The procedure was explained and demonstrated to each person. The radiation dose for a liver-cadmium estimation was measured as 7-10 mrem (gonad) which may be compared with 5-8 mrem for a chest X-ray or 400-2000 mrem for intravenous


The age range of those studied was 40-62 years (mean 53) and with one exception, who had only been in Shipham for a year, the others had lived there for 9-59 years (mean 23); three were light smokers; on average, 50% of the vegetables they consumed were of local origin. The mean liver-cadmium concentration in these villagers was 11.0±2.0 parts per million (p.p.m.) which is significantly higher (p

Staining of Legionella pneumophila.

551 CADMIUM IN SHIPHAM S!R,—On Jan. 19, 1979, the Department of the Environsuddenly informed the people of Shipham, Somerset, ment that their...
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