This study investigated the associations among prevalence of patients with Itai-itai disease, and prevalence of abnormal urinary findings and cadmium (Cd) concentrations in rice in individual hamlets of the Jinzu River basin. From the 13,183 participants of the 1967 and 1968 health examinations, we selected 3,094 subjects as the target population who had resided in the current hamlet for a total of 30 years or longer and aged 50 years, and in the hamlet both the Cd concentration in rice and prevalence of patients with Itai-itai disease were known. When the inhabitants were divided into four groups according to the Cd concentration in rice or prevalence of abnormal urinary findings, significant relationships among three factors (Cd concentration in rice, prevalence of abnormal urinary findings and prevalence of patients with Itai-itai disease) were demonstrated clearly using the Cochran - Armitage test. Correlation coefficients among the three factors in 55 hamlets showed that the prevalence of the patients with Itai-itai disease increased according to increases in the mean Cd concentration in rice and increasing prevalence of urinary findings. This study demonstrated that Itai-itai disease is induced by exposure to environmental Cd and that renal dysfunction plays an important role in its development.
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