Agneta Akesson, Ph., associate professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden says:
"Because of a high accumulation in agricultural crops, the main sources of dietary cadmium are bread and other cereals, potatoes, root crops and vegetables. In general, these foods are also considered healthy"
The authors explain that cadmium happens naturally at low concentrations, and scientists are worried because the poisoning of farmland, most of the time caused by atmospheric deposition, results in higher uptake in plants.
For their 12 year study, Åkesson, and team analyzed 55,987 women. They used a questionnaire, which explained how frequently the women ate certain foods, and was aimed at determining the dietary cadmium exposure. When the researchers followed up with the women, they found 2,112 cases of breast cancer, of which 1,626 were estrogen receptor-positive, and 290 estrogen receptor-negative.
The authors separated the cadmium consumption into 3 groups and discovered that high exposure to cadmium due to diet was associated with an increase of breast cancer by 21%. In comparison, there was a 27% increased risk of breast cancer among women who were normal weight. There was a 23% increased risk with estrogen receptor-positive and negative tumors.
Åkesson explains that there was a lower risk of breast cancer found in women who ate more vegetables and whole grains, in comparison with those who were eating dietary cadmium in other foods.
"It's possible that this healthy diet to some extent can counteract the negative effect of cadmium, but our findings need to be confirmed with further studies. It is, however, important that the exposure to cadmium from all food is low."