The freshwater painted turtle, Chrysemys picta, was used to investigate (a) the distribution of an injected dose of 109Cd in tissues over a period of 192 h (8 days) and (b) the effect of non-isotopic cadmium injection on tissue metal-binding protein levels. Cadmium is cleared from the blood with 9% remaining in the circulation at 192 h. 109Cd is found in all tissues, but is accumulated preferentially in liver, kidney, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract. The liver is the primary site of Cd accumulation, accounting for 46.4% of the injected dose by 192 h and the highest Cd concentration (cpm/mg tissue). Steroidogenic tissues and the oviduct accumulate significant amounts of 109Cd and the isotope is present in yolk. An increase in tissue metal-binding protein level after non-isotopic CdCl2 injection is consistent with 109Cd distribution, in that metal-binding protein concentration after CdCl2 injection is highest in liver, followed by pancreas and kidney with low, but with significant levels of cadmium-binding protein in gonads and steroid target organs. We conclude that the liver is the major site of storage after a single injection of isotopic cadmium and induction of a metal-binding protein may be an adaptive response to exposure to cadmium.