ATSDR - Toxic Substances - Copper
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Copper

CAS ID #: 7440-50-8

Affected Organ Systems: Gastrointestinal (Digestive), Hematological (Blood Forming), Hepatic (Liver)

Cancer Classification: None

Chemical Classification: Inorganic substances

Summary: Copper is a metal that occurs naturally throughout the environment, in rocks, soil, water, and air. Copper is an essential element in plants and animals (including humans), which means it is necessary for us to live. Therefore, plants and animals must absorb some copper from eating, drinking, and breathing. Copper is used to make many different kinds of products like wire, plumbing pipes, and sheet metal. U.S. pennies made before 1982 are made of copper, while those made after 1982 are only coated with copper. Copper is also combined with other metals to make brass and bronze pipes and faucets. Copper compounds are commonly used in agriculture to treat plant diseases like mildew, for water treatment and, as preservatives for wood, leather, and fabrics.

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