Blood samples taken from the woman and her relatives showed all three ‘had elevated levels of cadmium’. Experts say the metal, when consumed, can lead to ‘organ system toxicity, cancer and/or death’.
A police investigation lead the woman’s co-worker, 34-year-old engineer David Xu, to last week be charged with premeditated attempted murder over a five-month period and causing great bodily harm. He was also charged with two counts of felony poisoning ‘which may have caused death and which did cause the infliction of great bodily injury.’
There appears to be no motive behind the vicious attacks at this stage, and Xu was being held in jail without bail.
Bizarrely, this isn’t the first time an employee has used cadmium - typically used for manufacturing batteries - to poison their co-workers.
Last month a German man was sentenced to life in prison for poisoning his co-worker’s sandwiches. It’s believed he carried out the attacks because he was interested to see how it would affect his fellow workers’ health.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry warns that when cadmium is taken in large quantities, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, irritation of the stomach and even death. In smaller doses, it can lead to kidney damage and brittle bones.