Associations between Cadmium Exposure and Taste and Smell Dysfunction: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2011–2014
Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and Health Professions and College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA
Department of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA
School of Nursing, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 943; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030943
Received: 14 January 2020 / Revised: 30 January 2020 / Accepted: 1 February 2020 / Published: 3 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Pollution and Health Risk Assessment)
Background: Cadmium is a ubiquitous environmental pollutant and has been associated with many adverse health outcomes. However, little is known about the effect of cadmium exposure on taste and smell dysfunction. Methods: We used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011–2014 to investigate the associations between blood cadmium and taste and smell dysfunction among 5038 adults aged 40–80 years old. Taste and smell dysfunction were defined by questionnaires, examinations, or both criteria. Results: In survey weighted logistic regression models adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, income-to-poverty ratio (IPR), and education, individuals with a blood cadmium level in the highest tertiles had significantly higher odds of having perceived smell dysfunction (odds ratio (OR) = 1.41, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.08, 1.84), perceived taste dysfunction (OR = 1.48, 95% CI: 1.16, 1.89), and taste dysfunction defined by both self-reported and objectively measured data (OR = 1.46, 95% CI: 1.03, 2.07). After further adjusting for body mass index (BMI), cigarette smoking, and alcohol drinking, consistent results were observed for perceived taste dysfunction (OR = 1.49, 95% CI: 1.10, 2.00), and no significant associations were found between cadmium exposure and other outcomes. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that cadmium exposure is associated with perceived taste dysfunction.