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Copper Toxicity: A Comprehensive Study

Author Affiliations

  • 1RTM Nagpur University, Nagpur, MH, INDIA
  • 2 Amity University, Noida, UP, INDIA

Res. J. Recent Sci., Volume 2, Issue (ISC-2012), Pages 58-67, February,2 (2013)


Copper (Cu) is an essential trace minerals that is vitally important for physical and mental health. But due to wide spread occurrence of copper in our food, hot water pipe, nutritional deficiencies tablet and birth control pills increases chances of copper toxicity. Copper is not poisonous in its metallic state but some of its salts are poisonous. Copper is a powerful inhibitor of enzymes. It is needed by the body for a number of functions, predominantly as a cofactor for a number of enzymes such as ceruloplasmin, cytochrome oxidase, dopamine β-hydroxylase, superoxide dismutase and tyrosinase. It is present in several haematinics and its salts are also used therapeutically because of their astringent and antiseptic properties but sometimes copper salts are poisonous for human organ system.Copper Toxicity is increasingly becoming common these days. It is a condition in which a increase in the copper retention in the kidney occurs. Copper first start depositing in the liver and disrupts the liver's ability to detoxify elevated copper level in the body thus adversely affect nervous system, reproductive system, adrenal function, connective tissue, learning ability of new born baby, etc. When acidic foods are cooked in unlined copper cookware or in lined cookware where the lining has worn through, toxic amounts of copper can leech into the foods being cooked. This effect is exacerbated if the copper has corroded, creating reactive salts. The compounds of copper, often acting poisonously are blue vitriol (bluestone), the sulphate; and verdigris. In large amount taken at once, either of these will cause severe vomiting, pain in the abdomen, and purging; afterwards headache, and, in fatal cases, convulsions or paralysis before death. Slow poisoning will result from taking small amounts of copper daily, as in cooked or pickled articles, for a length of time.The current paper provides an overview of copper toxicity: acute and chronic, general symptoms, mode of administration medico-legal and forensic aspects, possible detection methods, treatment, etc.


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