Copper - Chloe Cyr

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by meanbunny
Last updated 5 years ago

Chemical Elements

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Copper - Chloe Cyr


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Although copper in small amounts is essential to life, there are numerous health risks associated with consuming too much copper. Some negative impacts that copper might have on humans if too much is consumed are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, dizziness, kidney damage and liver damage.







WHAT IS COPPER?Copper is a naturally occurring metal found in the environment in things such as rock, water, sediment and air. Copper is essential to life but can cause many health risks if over consumed. Copper can be found in all environments but more specifically in environments near agricultural land, smelting facilities, phosphate fertilizer plants and waste water treatment plants due to copper emissions from those sites. Copper is often used in plumbing materials which is one common way that a large amount of copper gets into the water.

According to the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines, levels are acceptable if the water does not exceed 1 mg/L of copper. The U.S. Environmental Protection Regulation for the level of copper acceptable is 1.3 mg/L. The World Health Organization has made a regulation of 2.0 mg/L for copper.

Copper is one of the most toxic metals to aquatic ecosystems and organisms. Copper causes many negative side effects to aquatic ecosystems such as decrease in algae growth (bad if it is naturally there and organisms depend on it), and decrease of biodiversity (when animals that can't survive in an overabundance of copper leave). When organisms die or leave because of the copper, it greatly affects the food chain, maybe leaving no food for other organisms, causing them to die as well.

Humans contribute to increasing levels of copper in many ways. One way is when farmers try to control algae blooms with copper sulphate and by doing that, increase the copper levels. Humans also make house hold plumbing that when in contact with corrosive water, can significantly add to copper levels. Humans also create smelting facilities, phosphate fertilizer plants, spread manure, mine copper and create wastewater sewage plants, which all contribute to increasing copper levels. Copper mine explosions can be devastating to the surrounding ecosystems, adding a lot of copper in little time.

Copper levels can be tested in a variety of ways. One way is a test strip method. To conduct this experiment you will need 10mL of 1mg/L Canadian Guideline Limit sample to be used as your control. You will also need 10mL of however many water samples you want, each with their own respective labels, beakers and test strip packets with colour charts printed on them. Dip one strip in each sample and with a constant back and forth motion, stir for 30 seconds. Then take the stick out and let it dry for 2 minutes. Finally, match the colour of the stick to the chart to see the copper level. Compare the copper levels for each water sample.

An experiment was conducted in the Hamilton and Kingston areas of Ontario, Canada. This experiment found that the Canadian Guideline Limit Sample had a level of copper of 0.05 mg/L. The Lake Ontario water from Kingston had a much higher copper level of 0.4 mg/L. Bayfront park, Cootes paradise and Brita filtered water had very little copper, about 0.01 mg/L. All of the water samples collected were still in the acceptable range of copper according to the three water organizations. The Kingston water had the most copper by far.


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