Year of Publication



Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Nancy Johnson, DrPH, MSPH

Committee Member

David Mannino, MD

Committee Member

Brian Lee, PhD


Background and Objectives

Cadmium is a carcinogenic and toxic metal. The general population can be exposed to cadmium from multiple sources. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the association of urinary cadmium and residence distance-to-road by performing landscape analyses in eastern Kentucky, a region where smoking prevalence is high, coal production has been a primary industry, and the landscape is predominantly undeveloped. Composite dust samples were also collected and analyzed for Cadmium (Cd), Manganese (Mn), and Zinc (Zn). The primary objective of this study is to ascertain if there is an association between participants with elevated accumulated cadmium exposure and residence proximity to paved roads. The secondary objective is to determine if composite dust collected on the front walkways of these residences will contain elevated concentrations of trace elements related to heavy travel, including cadmium, manganese, and zinc.


The residence distance-to-road values were determined by performing heads-up digitizing in ArcMap, a geographic information systems (GIS) software, using imagery from the Kentucky Division of Geographic Information, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) 2016 2 feet resolution. The samples for urine cadmium were taken from subjects in 31 counties. A total of 178 urinary cadmium (creatinine-corrected) 2 values, 35 composite dust samples, and cotinine hair samples for each urinary Cd value were recorded along with the residence-to-road distance.


After creatinine-correcting the urinary cadmium, the mean value for the 178 values was 5.89 μgCd/gCR. The correlation between non-smokers and urine Cd was -0.0004 with a p-value of 0.9970 and for smokers the correlation was - 0.2635 with a p-value of 0.0224. The correlation for smokers was found to be statistically significant. SPSS was used to calculate Pearson correlation statistics for urinary Cd and residence distance-to-road. The correlation was -0.074. Of the 178 urinary Cd values, 46.1% of the subjects were found to live between 0 – 30 meters of a road.


Potential sources of exposure were analyzed but more analyses need to be performed as the urinary cadmium values and residence proximity-to-road map indicates an association between the two variables.

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