Copper

(SHERAZ AHMED KHAN, Islamabad)

Copper is an essential element and is always present in food and in animal liver, which are the major contributors to dietary exposure to copper. Copper is common in the environment. We may be exposed to copper by breathing air, drinking water, eating food, and by skin contact with soil, water and other copper-containing substances. Most copper compounds found in air, water, sediment, soil and rock are strongly attached to dust and dirt or imbedded in minerals.

In various regions of Pakistan, the Cu concentration in soil and dust ranges from <6 to 412 mg/kg, where contaminated site from Kohistan region reported the highest content of Cu in soil. The capital city of Pakistan (Islamabad) industrial area shows that the total concentration of Cu is in the range of 8.88–357.40 mg/kg. The highest level of Cu in sediments was found at the Gizri Creek location at the most downstream part of the Malir River, Karachi, and 272 mg/kg.

Copper is essential for good health. However, exposure to higher doses can be harmful. Long-term exposure to copper dust can irritate your nose, mouth, and eyes, and cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea. If you drink water that contains higher than normal levels of copper, you may experience nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, or diarrhea. Intentionally high intakes of copper can cause liver and kidney damage and even death.

 

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