OBJECTIVES: This study was conducted to assess the concentration of urine cadmium and health risks of residents in the vicinity of abandoned metal mines in Gyeongsangbuk-do. METHODS: The concentration of cadmium in the soil, water, and agricultural crops was measured in Gyeongsangbuk-do, Butdeun and Suksan, which have abandoned metal mines. We measured the concentration of cadmium in the urine of residents from the following areas: 78 from village A, 99 from village C and 147 from control areas. Other health-risk assessments were performed on each resident, such as measuring the concentration of beta2-MG and a bone density test. RESULTS: In abandoned mine areas, the mean concentration of cadmium was higher in agricultural soil and in the crops than in that of control areas. The concentration of cadmium in the stream exceeded the guideline level. In regard to provisional tolerable daily intake (PTDI) of cadmium, the actual intake rate through crops was 33.81%, 72.74% in abandoned mine areas and 5.03%, 6.16% in control areas. Residents in abandoned mine areas, A village and C village had a geometric mean of urine Cd of 1.90 microgram/g cr and 1.45 microgram/g cr. These measurements were significantly higher than those of residents in control areas, B village and D village, 0.59 microgram/g cr and 0.65 microgram/g cr (p<0.01). Following adjustments for age, sex, smoking habit, and occupational history, the concentration of urine cadmium of residents in the Butdeun abandoned meta mine was higher by 1.62 microgram/g cr as compared with the control group (p<0.01). Residents from the Suksan abandoned metal mine also had a higher concentration by 1.07 microgram/g cr (p<0.01). A multiple linear regression analysis was performed for the factors associated with T-score, and this showed that the concentration of urine cadmium was not an influential factor. CONCLUSIONS: Based on these measurements, areas with abandoned metal mines contaminated streams, agricultural soil, and crops of the adjacent areas, with cadmium. Because residents in the adjacent areas intake contaminated crops, their urine cadmium was increased. Despite a lack of evidence demonstrating the detrimental effect of increased urine cadmium in residents, an additional study is needed to assess the health risks of residents in the vicinity of abandoned metal mines.