[en] In a population study conducted from 1985 to 1989 in Belgium, the authors investigated whether exposure to cadmium is associated with blood pressure elevation and with an increased prevalence of cardiovascular diseases. The participants, aged 20-88 years, constituted a random sample of the households living in two low exposure areas (n = 803) and two high exposure areas (n = 1,283). For each exposure level, a rural and an urban district were selected. The cadmium levels in blood (8.5 vs. 11.0 nmol/liter) and urine (7.2 vs. 8.7 nmol/24 hours) were significantly (p less than 0.001) raised in the two high exposure areas compared with the two low exposure areas (p less than 0.001). Systolic pressure was similar in both rural areas, but in the urban area with high exposure systolic pressure was 5 mmHg (p less than 0.001) higher than in the control town. Diastolic pressure was similar in the four districts and the same was true for the prevalence of hypertension and of other cardiovascular diseases. Adjustment of systolic pressure for blood and urinary cadmium did not remove the difference in systolic pressure between both urban areas, suggesting that it was not related to the cadmium burden on the environment. Further analyses in individual subjects showed that neither blood pressure nor the presence of cardiovascular diseases were significantly and positively correlated with blood and urinary cadmium. Thus, the present population study did not confirm the hypothesis that increased exposure of the population to cadmium is associated with blood pressure elevation and with a higher prevalence of cardiovascular diseases.