Agent Name

Copper

CAS Number

7440-50-8

Formula

Cu

Major Category

Metals

Synonyms

Copper metal dusts; Copper metal fumes; [NIOSH] Copper (II) carbonate; Copper (II) chloride; Copper (II) hydroxide sulfate; Copper (II) nitrate; Copper (II) oxide; Copper (I) oxide; Copper (II) pyrophosphate; Copper (II) sulfate; Copper (II) acetate; Copper (II) sulfate, pentaydrate; Copper chloride hydroxide; Copper (II) hydroxide; Copper sulfide; Copper naphthenate; Copper (I) cyanide; Copper (I) iodide; Cupric gluconate; Copper (II) arsenate;

Category

Elements, Metallic

Description

Reddish, lustrous, malleable, odorless solid; [NIOSH]

Sources/Uses

Copper exposures can occur while working in copper and brass foundries and smelters; while welding or electroplating; and during the production or use of fungicides, ceramics, pyrotechnics, pigments, and analytical reagents. [ACGIH] Copper is an essential element in the human diet; it is necessary for the functioning of several enzymes; [Nordberg, p. 765]

Comments

Copper fumes can cause metal fume fever. Hemolytic anemia has been reported after toxic ingestion. [Rosenstock, p. 983] In acidic conditions, metallic copper releases toxic copper ions. Acute copper poisoning can cause liver injury, methemoglobinemia, and hemolytic anemia. Acute renal failure may result, secondary to massive hemoglobinuria. [Goldfrank, p. 1256-60] There are two TLVs, one for "Copper, fume, as Cu" and one for "Copper, dusts and mists, as Cu." There is also a MAK for "Copper and its inorganic compounds." [ACGIH] Copper in drinking water at >4 mg/L can cause gastrointestinal distress. At higher doses, ingested copper salts can cause hemolysis and injury to the liver and kidneys. [Nordberg, p. 765] In high-dose animal studies, excess copper is embryotoxic; Women with Wilson's disease (excess copper) may have infertility and increased spontaneous abortions; [REFPROTOX] See "Copper sulfate."

Exposure Assessment
Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Insufficient data

TLV (ACGIH)

0.2 mg/m3, as Cu(fume), 1 mg/m3, as Cu(dust,mist)

STEL (ACGIH)

., as Cu(fume)

PEL (OSHA)

0.1 mg/m3, as Cu(fume),1 mg/m3, as Cu(dust,mist)

MAK

0.01 mg/m3, respirable fraction (metal and inorg. Compounds)

IDLH (NIOSH)

100 mg/m3, as Cu(fume,dust,mist)

Excerpts from Documentation for IDLHs

Exposure to copper fume causes upper respiratory tract irritation, metallic taste, nausea, and metal fume fever. It has been reported that no ill effects resulted from exposures to copper fumes at concentrations up to 0.4 mg Cu/m3 [Luxon 1972] and that there is little evidence that copper presents a serious industrial hazard, either from acute of chronic poisoning [Browning 1969].

Half Life

Whole body: 4 weeks; [TDR, p. 392]

Reference Link

ATSDR - ToxFAQs - Copper

Adverse Effects
Anemia

Anemia, Hemolytic

Hepatotoxin

Hepatotoxin, Secondary

Nephrotoxin

Yes

Reproductive Toxin

Yes

Methemoglobinemia

Methemoglobinemia, Secondary

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information

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Chemical Information

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Biomedical References

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Related Information in HazMap
Diseases

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:

Processes

Industrial Processes with risk of exposure:

Activities

Activities with risk of exposure: