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About copper jewelry toxicity

May 18, 2017

Copper toxicity symptoms

Yes, copper can be toxic.

But like many other things in our environment, may I say.

Copper is an essential mineral required by the body. A deficiency of copper can cause joint pain, anemia, osteoporosis and other diseases. On the opposite side of the scale, too much copper will cause cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and much worse. Copper in large amount can even be poisonous.

Here are some things that are said can lead to copper poisoning:
1. working in a copper mine,
2. drinking water that is piped with copper pipes,
3. eating food high in copper such as seafood, mushrooms, nuts and seeds,
4. drink beer and wine.

The photo above comes from the Copper Museum in Clarkdale, AZ.

Copper and human life

  • transmission of especially high copper content: shellfish
  • transmission of high copper copper: beans, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, wine, processed food
  • transmission of minor copper content: copper drinkware, using copper kitchen utensils, wearing copper jewelry

Bottom line... copper poisoning comes from ingesting large quantity of copper. However, my personal bet is that drinking large quantity of wine will give you alcohol poisoning before copper poisoning and if you throw up after eating sushi, check the expiration date before blaming copper.

Can wearing copper jewelry lead to copper poisoning?

It is my honest and humble opinion that it cannot because the quantity of copper that will enter your body is really minimal. 
But I am not a doctor nor a chemist, so if you are really worried about copper poisoning, please consult a specialist. Also consider that wearing a copper chain mail bracelet or a copper bangle will be a lesser source of copper transmission than a design that is closer to the skin like a ring or a cuff.

Related post: Copper jewelry and green skin

The schlock jewelry sold at department stores and big box stores contains lead and nickel which are much worse than copper, bronze contains copper, sterling contains copper, silver and even gold can be toxic. So can everything in your house, your environment, your phone, your computer, your coin purse and your plate. Copper is found everywhere including in hospitals. So... jewelry... really?

With copper jewelry, I would be more concerned about allergies than about poisoning. But once again, that’s just my humble opinion and you are entitled to do your own research if this is something that keeps you up at night.

Hope that answers your questions...

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1 Response

Roger Bradbury
Roger Bradbury

April 17, 2018

I agree that it’s an overstated problem. Here in England most water pipes in domestic properties are copper, yet strangely there isn’t a problem with copper poisoning… In earlier times pipes were lead, and where this is still found (it’s rare now) we are advised to run the tap if using water for drinking or cooking.

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