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Copper Benefits

Biophysical Properties of Copper

Copper is an essential micro-nutrient, needed at 1.3 milligrams per day, according to the International Copper Association. It is needed for red blood cell formation, protein metabolism, the production of RNA, enzyme activity, hair and skin color, and the health of the nerves. Colloidal Copper has been used as a remedy for gray hair, burns, arthritis, parasites and viral and bacterial infections.  Colloidal Copper has been found helpful against multi-cellular parasites such as malaria, fungus, ring-worm, Cryptosporidium,  Toxoplasma, chronic bladder infections where bacteria have formed a multi-cellular biofilm.

Jan 2008: “High-dose copper reverses heart enlargement: Maximum safe level in drinking water is 2 ppm” from Journal of Experimental Medicine

Copper

Copper (Cu) is a heavy metal whose unbound ions are toxic. Colloidal Copper is not ionic but consists of  clusters of atoms called nanoparticles and thus does not have the toxicity of ionic copper.  Almost all of the copper in the body is present as a component of copper proteins, thereby reducing the in vivo concentration of unbound copper ions almost to zero. Genetic mechanisms control the processes by which copper is incorporated into apoproteins and those by which toxic accumulations of copper are avoided.

Almost every daily diet contains 2 to 3 mg of copper, only about half of which is absorbed. Any copper absorbed in excess of metabolic requirements is excreted through the bile, probably via hepatic lysosomes. On average, an adult has about 150 mg of copper in the body, of which about 10 to 20 mg is in the liver. The remainder is distributed ubiquitously.

ACQUIRED COPPER DEFICIENCY

In genetically normal people, acquired, environmental, or dietary abnormalities rarely cause clinically significant copper deficiency. The only reported causes of such deficiency are kwashiorkor; persistent infantile diarrhea, usually associated with a diet limited to milk; severe malabsorption, as in sprue; total parenteral nutrition that is copper-free; and excess intake of a zinc salt as a dietary supplement. Treatment must be directed at the cause of the deficiency, usually with the addition of 2 to 5 mg of cupric ion daily.

COPPER

GENERAL PROPERTIES

Symbol:
Cu
Atomic Number:
29
Atomic Weight:
63.546
Density:
8.96 gm/cc
Melting Point:
1083.4 oC
Boiling Point:
2567 oC
Thermal Conductivity:
4.01 W/cm/oK @ 298.2 oK
Electrical Resistivity:
1.678 microhm-cm @ 20 oC
Electronegativity:
1.9 Paulings
Specific Heat:
0.092 Cal/g/oK @ 25 oC
Heat of Vaporization:
72.8 K-cal/gm atom at 2567 oC
Heat of Fusion:
3.11 Cal/gm mole

MATERIAL OVERVIEW

Characteristics:

Distinctive reddish color; ductile; excellent conductor of electricity. Complexing agent, coordination numbers 2 and 4. Dissolves readily in nitric and hot concentrated H2SO4, in HCl and dilute H2SO4 slowly but only when exposed to the atmosphere. More resistant to atmospheric corrosion than iron, forming a green layer of hydrated basic carbonate. Readily attacked by alkalies. A necessary trace element in human diet; a factor in plant metabolism. Essentially nontoxic in elemental form. Powder is combustible.

Copper increases iron assimilation; iron and copper work together in the formation of hemoglobin and red blood cells. Anemia can be a copper deficiency symptom. Various enzyme reactions require copper. Copper influences protein metabolism and general healing, improves vitamin C oxidation and is integral in the formation of RNA. Low or high copper levels can be found in those with mental and emotional problems. Copper helps rid the body of parasites such as ring worm, taenia,  and is beneficial for graying and thinning hair. Copper excess is not common because only a small percentage is assimilated, but toxicity problems can present serious disease states.

Some symptoms of a copper deficiency:

Allergies, Anemia, Aneurysm, Arthritis, Dry Brittle Hair, Edema, Gulf War Syndrome, Hair Loss / Baldness, Heart Disease, Hernias, High Blood Cholesterol, Hypo and Hyper Thyroidism, Kawasaki Disease, Liver cirrhosis, Oppressed breathing, Osteoporosis, Parasites, Parkinson’s Disease, Reduced Glucose Tolerance, Ruptured Disc, Skin Eruptions or Sores, Varicose Veins, White or Gray Hair, and Wrinkled skin.

National Primary Drinking Water Regulations

This is a fact sheet about a chemical that may be found in some public or private drinking water supplies. It may cause health problems if found in amounts greater than the health standard set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Why is Copper being regulated?

In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law requires EPA to determine safe levels of chemicals in drinking water which do or may cause health problems. These non-enforceable levels, based solely on possible health risks and exposure, are called Maximum Contaminant Level Goals.

The MCLG for copper has been set at 1.3 parts per million (ppm) because EPA believes this level of protection would not cause any of the potential health problems described below.

Since copper contamination generally occurs from corrosion of household copper pipes, it cannot be directly detected or removed by the water system. Instead, EPA is requiring water systems to control the corrosiveness of their water if the level of copper at home taps exceeds an Action Level.

The Action Level for copper has also been set at 1.3 ppm because EPA believes, given present technology and resources, this is the lowest level to which water systems can reasonably be required to control this contaminant should it occur in drinking water at their customers home taps.

These drinking water standards and the regulations for ensuring these standards are met, are called National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. All public water supplies must abide by these regulations.

What are the health effects?

Short- and long-term effects: Copper is an essential nutrient, required by the body in very small amounts. However, EPA has found copper to potentially cause the following health effects when people are continually exposed to it at levels above the Action Level. Short periods of exposure can cause gastrointestinal disturbance, including nausea and vomiting. Use of water that exceeds the Action Level over many years could cause liver or kidney damage. People with Wilsons disease may be more sensitive than others to the effect of copper contamination and should consult their health care provide

How much Copper is produced and released to the environment?

Copper may occur in drinking water either by contamination of the source water used by the water system, or by corrosion of copper plumbing. Corrosion of plumbing is by far the greatest cause for concern. Copper is rarely found in source water, but copper mining and smelting operations and municipal incineration may be sources of contamination.

From 1987 to 1993, according to the Toxics Release Inventory copper compound releases to land and water totaled nearly 450 million lbs., of which nearly all was to land. These releases were primarily from copper smelting industries. The largest releases occurred in Utah. The largest direct releases to water occurred in Tennessee.

What happens to Copper when it is released to the environment?

All water is corrosive toward copper to some degree, even water termed noncorrosive or water treated to make it less corrosive. Corrosivity toward copper is greatest in very acidic water. Many of the other factors that affect the corrosivity of water toward lead can also be expected to affect the corrosion of copper.

How will Copper be detected in and removed from my drinking water?

The regulation for copper became effective in 1992. Between 1993 and 1995, EPA required your water supplier to collect water samples from household taps twice a year and analyze them to find out if copper is present above 1.3 ppm in more than 10 percent of all homes tested. If it is present above this level, the system must continue to monitor this contaminant twice a year.

If contaminant levels are found to be consistently above the Action level, your water supplier must take steps to reduce the amount of copper so that it is consistently below that level. The following treatment methods have been approved by EPA for controlling copper: Corrosion control.

Drinking Water Standards:

MCLG: 1.3 ppm

Action level: 1.3 ppm

References and links:

  1. References on benefits ands toxicity of Copper and Zinc  http://www.health2us.com/zn_cu.htm
  2. International Copper Association
  3. “A Common Parasite Reveals Its Strongest Asset: Stealth; Toxoplasma”  http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/20/science/20toxo.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin