< Arsenic - As Chromium - Cr >

Associated topic: Heavy metals

Emissions monitoring period: since 1990

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017


Source of the pollutant

Emissions of cadmium (Cd) of human origin are mainly released by zinc production and waste incineration. The combustion of solid mineral fuels, heavy fuel oil and biomass also releases a significant proportion of Cd emissions.

Cadmium naturally present in the Earth's crust can be dispersed into the air in particulate matter from the soil and by volcanic eruptions. These activities are not covered by CITEPA at present, because of insufficient data on potential emissions and a lack of bibliographic references.


Effect of the pollutant

In humans, Cd is mainly absorbed by inhalation and ingestion. It is transported in the bloodstream and concentrates mainly in the liver, kidneys and bones. Acute cadmium poisoning first affects the digestive system. When inhaled, severe cadmium poisoning causes pneumonia. Chronic exposure can lead to kidney failure. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified cadmium as carcinogenic to humans.

Heavy metals can be toxic for the biosphere. Most being under particulate shape, they accumulate in the water, the grounds, the food and the air.


Classification of sub-sectors* with the highest emission levels in 2015

Classification Sub-sectors Share of sub-sector in total national emissions in mainland France
1 Ferrous metals production including: 31% including:
Sinter and pelletizing plant 17%
Gray iron foundries 8.8%
Electric furnace steel plant 2.9%
Pig iron tapping 1.5%
2 Crops 12%
3 Diesel-fuelled passenger cars 9.1%
4 Non-metallic minerals, building materials 8.3%
5 Non-ferrous metals production 7.1%
6 Residential sector 6.3%

*: one sector out of six (energy transformation, manufacturing industry, residential/tertiary, agriculture/forestry, road transport and other transport) is broken down into sub-sectors.


Emissions and trends

Minimum observed: 2.7 t en 2015
Maximum observed: 21 t en 1990
Emissions en 2015: 2.7 t
Trends 2015/1990: -87.0%
Trends 2015/maximum: -87.0%
Trends 2015/minimum: 0%

Measurement unit : t (tonne)
Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Graph Cd 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab Cd 17

(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.
(e) preliminary estimate



All sectors contributed to cadmium (Cd) emissions with the manufacturing industry predominating throughout.

The main sources of Cd emissions in 2015 were:... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)


Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017