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Copper Toxicity?


#1

Greetings all,

I am new to the metalsmithing trade. I built my bench in February
(07’) and have been primarily working with copper to gain some skill
being that it’s inexpensive.

In the process of working with the metal I’ve had many little copper
splinters and have probably breathed in minute particles of copper
from using rubber wheels/emergy papers etc… The splinters are gone
but they were probably dissolved by my body and perhaps assimilated?

I have been suffering from fatigue and “brain fog” for the past
several months. Does anyone have any experience with this subject or
think that it’s possible that I could have an over-abundence of
copper in my system? I’m no chemistry expert.

Thanks!


#2

Some time ago there was a warning about the dangers of working with
copper. I believe the ailment caused was called copper fume
poisoning. I don’t recall all the details, but probably others on
Orchid will have more specific about this problem.

Alma


#3

PAN Poisoning Information for Copper oxide(ous)
http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Poisoning.jsp?Rec_Id=PC33548

Thought you might find some here…

Barbara
Barbara Johnson
http://www.forestkats.com


#4

Your Doctor can test you for copper toxicity. It certainly can be a
problem if you get too much in your system. Proper ventilation of
your grinding setup will keep this from being an issue in the
future.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#5

Dear Andy,

There’s a lot written on the web about copper toxicity, although
without seeing a doctor and discussing it with him/her, you can’t be
sure that this is what you’re suffering from. It sounds likely but if
you are, then you need proper medical advice.

Copper compounds are essential for our wellbeing, but copper on its
own is toxic. Wikipedia says that if copper toxicity is suspected,
patients are treated with ovalbumin in one of its common forms, milk
or egg whites, presumably until proper diagnosis and treatment can
be given.

Go and get checked out, your health is too precious to gamble with
and whilst someone on here may be able to advise, it’s best to ask
your doctor. Let us know how you get on.

Take care,
Helen
UK


#6
I have been suffering from fatigue and "brain fog" for the past
several months. Does anyone have any experience with this subject
or think that it's possible that I could have an over-abundence of
copper in my system? 

I would say that brain fog and fatigue are more likely to be from
sugar, refined carbs and/or stress, but there are simple tests for
metal toxicity and you should just get tested to make sure.

You also could do a search on line for "copper toxicity to see what
the symptoms are.

Noel


#7
I have been suffering from fatigue and "brain fog" for the past
several months. Does anyone have any experience with this subject
or think that it's possible that I could have an over-abundence of
copper in my system? 

Yes, though as Jim says a doctor can test for it. You will ingest
copper through three ways in working it - breathing, eating (as
swallowing dust) and through your skin. Gold is not toxic, cadmium
is highly toxic, and copper is somewhere in between. Symptoms would
be fatigue and brain fog, a metallic taste in your mouth and likely
nausea and constipation in more acute situations. Also maybe a dry,
hacking persistent cough if it’s from inhalation. The fact that you
presumably didn’t have those problems before and after working lots
of copper you do is telling. It’s a bad thing and you should take
steps to prevent future exposure and probably a doctor wouldn’t hurt
either, but it’s also not SO serious, like you’ve ruined your life
or something. But continued exposure will start to impact your liver
and kidneys and stuff…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#8

I think that you have had very limited exposure ( compared to long
term copper workers) and that it will cause you any problem. But you
can find out a quite a bit by searching. “copper toxicity”. Some
people may be hypersensitive. There are exposure limits and it is
toxic in water with abnormally high concentrations. Brass workers
exposed to molten metal fumes are affected by the zinc fumes. Zinc
fumes are bad for everyone.

I don’t like grinding bronze or copper because of the heavy dust, but
I have never been sick from it.

jesse


#9

A good indicator that you might be toxified with cooper is to eat
some tomato sauce, if it tastes sweet to you get to a doctor.

A toxicology nurse gave me this warning test when I was diagnosed
with plastic toxins as an undergrad metals student.

Good luck!
Nanz Aalund


#10

Nola-

I am not a physician and neither are you. I was not giving advice,
my post was suggested as a warning test and an indicator not a
diagnosis
. Neither did I suggest which brand of tomato sauce to
taste, selecting an organic, no-sugar-add brand would be common sense
in such a test. And the tomato sauce should taste un-naturally sweet,
like candy.

This test was suggested to me by a toxicology nurse and as she
indicated to me it is kind of like a canary in a coal mine - not the
best indicator of toxic gas- but for the miners its better than
nothing.

Gastric and blood testing would be needed for a diagnosis of cupric
oxide poisoning and could only be carried out by a physician and then
only if ones health insurance covered such testing.

The act of requesting such testing without significant cause might
even jeopardize an individuals ability to obtain future health
insurance coverage. So is that your advice?

Individual results may vary
Nanz Aalund


#11

Hi there. To put this in perspective, my first metals professor,
Kate Wagle, is a life long smith. She was worried about her decades
of metalwork and some time ago went to a doctor and got her blood
tested. The results were fine and the doctor said she’s nothing to
worry about. That admission in the first few days of class was a
wonderful reassurance. =] However, I still get flux on my
fingers…

“I find this work oddly menacing because of the way the formal
post-modern iconicity and the disjunctive perturbation of the
painterly biomorphic neo-tribal gestures spatially undermine the
subtle yet distinctive Magrittian semiotic juxtapositioning. I like
it.”


#12

Another “home diagnostic” tool is smoking, copper compounds catalyse
the breakdown of the tar in tobacco smoke, and this produces a sweet
taste in the mouth.

Again, I too am not a doctor, but if you smoke and work with
copper/copper bearing materials and you taste something sweet with
each drag, get to a doctor!!!

There is no substitute for medical advice, go to the doctor and get
the test done.

Thomas.


#13
To put this in perspective, my first metals professor, Kate Wagle,
is a life long smith. She was worried about her decades of
metalwork and some time ago went to a doctor and got her blood
tested. The results were fine and the doctor said she's nothing to
worry about. 

I’m not a doctor, and I try not to pretend to be one. What Angie
says above is true - perspective. Most jewelry metals work is not
especially hazardous in terms of metal toxicity - meaning the metals
themselves, not welding fumes and the like. In rough order of
appearance: Beryllium is not used in jewelry directly, but it’s a
class 1 carcinogen and is highly poisonous in all forms. Cadmium is
nowhere near as bad, but it’s not something to fool with casually.
Zinc and copper are essential trace elements in nutrition, but too
much of either one will have bad effects on your body, though they
are much milder than the other two. In fact, zinc and copper each
cause deficiencies in the other when they are in excess. Modern zinc
pennies are a health hazard if swallowed - they dissolve in the
stomach. Silver and gold are considered completely non-toxic under
normal conditions. The problem is in the case of the original poster
of this thread - someone who has been working largely or entirely in
copper for months and is reporting possible effects. This is where
the “not a doctor” part comes in - acute copper toxicity is likely
not going to be that serious, and likely can be fixed by stopping
the intake of more metal - no need to be all freaked about it,
probably. It’s important to be aware that it’s not quite so benign,
though, like gold or silver. Too much of it will impact your body,
and there are also people who can’t tolerate it and have more
lasting problems. But I’d be the first to say that anybody who asks
for medical advise on a forum should take the best of it if they
feel the need: Ask a real doctor.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com