Cadmium is a non-essential heavy metal found abundantly in the environment. Children of women exposed to cadmium during pregnancy display lower motor and perceptual abilities. High cadmium body burden in children is also related to impaired intelligence and lowered school achievement. However, little is known about the molecular and cellular basis of developmental neurotoxicity in the sensitive early life stages of animals. In this study, we explore neurological deficits caused by cadmium during early embryonic stages in zebrafish by examining regionalization of the neural tube, pattern formation and cell fate determination, commitment of proneural genes and induction of neurogenesis. We show that cadmium-treated embryos developed a smaller head with unclear boundaries between the brain subdivisions, particularly in the mid-hindbrain region. Embryos display normal anterior to posterit of proneural genes and induction of neurogenesis. We show that cadmium-treated embryos developed a smaller head with unclear boundaries between theor regionalization; however, the commitment of neural progenitor cells was affected by cadmium. We observe prominent reductions in the expression of several proneuronal genes including ngn1 in cell clusters, zash1a in the developing optic tectum, and zash1b in the telencephalon and tectum. Cadmium-treated embryos also have fewer differentiated neurons and glia in the facial sensory ganglia as indicated by decreased zn-12 expression. Also, a lower transcription level of neurogenic genes, ngn1 and neuroD, is observed in neurons. Our data suggest that cadmium-induced neurotoxicity can be caused by impaired neurogenesis, resulting in markedly reduced neuronal differentiation and axonogenesis.