Copper Information

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Copper

Other Names

Cuprum

Chemical Formula

Cu

CAS Number

7440 – 50 – 8

Industry Uses

Wiring; Pipes; Fungicides

Health Risks

Irritation; Respiratory Symptoms

Copper MSDS

What is Copper?

Copper is a metal that occurs naturally throughout the environment in rocks, soil, water, and air. It is an essential element in plants, animals, and humans. It is used to make products like wire, plumbing pipes, and sheet metal. Pennies made before 1982 are made of copper, and those made after are only coated in copper. Copper is combined with other metals to make brass and bronze. Copper compounds are also used in agriculture to treat plant diseases like mildew, as preservatives for wood, leather, and fabrics, and for water treatment systems. Excess copper levels can cause a metallic taste to the water as well as cause it to stain laundry and porcelain a blue-green color.

Copper Exposure and Health Risks

Copper is harmful if swallowed and inhaled. It can also cause skin and eye irritation. Inhalation causes irritation to the respiratory tract inducing symptoms like cough, difficulty breathing, and wheezing. Short term exposure can cause gastrointestinal distress. Long term exposure can cause liver and/or kidney damage.

Regulations

The table below summarizes the most-recent standards.

Limit/Level

Type

Organization

1.3 mg/L

Primary Standards – Max Contaminant Level

EPA

1.0 mg/L

Secondary Standards – Max Contaminant Level

EPA

Sources: EPA, EPA

Measuring Copper

Dissolved Copper concentration in water can be measured in units of parts per million (ppm). We carry kits from CHEMetrics that determine copper levels in water from 0-10 ppm. All of our copper products can be viewed HERE.

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