Cadmium is considered an important toxicant of major environmental and occupational concern. It can contaminate water, soil, and the atmosphere through coal mining, beneficiation, combustion, etc. This paper is based on the published literature, especially those data reported during the recent 10 years, including 2999 individual samples from 116 coalfields or mines in 26 provinces in China. The arithmetic mean of cadmium in Chinese coals is 0.43 μg/g. Taking the coal reserves into consideration, the average value of cadmium in coal is estimated as 0.28 μg/g. Cadmium is mostly enriched in the Southern coal-distribution area during the Late Permian. Furthermore, cadmium is highly enriched in Hunan and Chongqing. The modes of occurrence of cadmium in Chinese coals are quite complex. Cadmium in Chinese coals has been found in sulfides, organic matter, silicate minerals, and other minerals. A marine environment may be the most significant factor that influences the cadmium accumulation in coal from the Southern coal-distribution area during the Late Permian. In addition, hydrothermal fluids, source rocks, and volcanic ash have also influenced the content of cadmium in some coalfields in China.
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