Copper (dusts and mists, as Cu)
Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH)
CAS number: 7440–50–8 (Metal)
NIOSH REL: 1 mg/m3 TWA
1989 OSHA PEL: Same as current PEL
Current OSHA PEL: 1 mg/m3 TWA
1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: 1 mg/m3 TWA
Description of Substance: Varies
Original (SCP) IDLH*: No Evidence [*Note: "Effective" IDLH = 2,000 mg Cu/m3 -- see discussion below.]
Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: There is no evidence that an acute exposure to a high concentration of copper dusts and mists could impede escape within 30 minutes. Browning  noted that there is little evidence that copper presents a serious industrial hazard, either from acute or chronic poisoning. For this draft technical standard, therefore, respirators have been selected on the basis of the assigned protection factor afforded by each device up to 2,000 × the OSHA PEL of 1 mg Cu/m3 (i.e., 2,000 mg Cu/m3); only the "most protective" respirators are permitted for use in concentrations exceeding 2,000 mg Cu/m3.
Short-term exposure guidelines: None developed
ACUTE TOXICITY DATA
Lethal concentration data:
|Adjusted 0.5-hr |
Lethal dose data:
4,559 mg Cu/m3
456 mg Cu/m3
Coulston and Korte 1975
629 mg Cu/m3
63 mg Cu/m3
1,457 mg Cu/m3
146 mg Cu/m3
Siegle and Sisler 1977
836 mg Cu/m3
84 mg Cu/m3
Human data: It has been stated that there is little evidence that copper presents a serious industrial hazard, either from acute or chronic poisoning [Browning 1969]. Inhalation of copper salts can result in irritation of the nasal mucous membranes [Clayton and Clayton 1981]. A lethal oral dose of 857 mg of CuSO4/kg (equivalent to 341 mg Cu/kg) has been reported [Csiky 1958]. [Note: An oral dose of 341 mg Cu/kg is equivalent to a 70-kg worker being exposed to 227 mg Cu/m3 for 30 minutes, assuming a breathing rate of 50 liters per minute and 100% absorption.]
|Revised IDLH: 100 mg Cu/m3 |
Basis for revised IDLH: The revised IDLH for copper dusts and mists is 100 mg Cu/m3 based on acute oral toxicity data in humans [Csiky 1958] and animals [Coulston and Korte 1975; Marhold 1977; Siegel and Sisler 1977]. This may be a conservative value due to the lack of relevant acute inhalation toxicity data in workers.
1. Browning E . Toxicity of industrial metals. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts, p. 148.
2. Clayton GD, Clayton FE, eds. . Patty's industrial hygiene and toxicology. 3rd rev. ed. Vol. 2A. Toxicology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 1620-1630.
3. Coulston F, Korte F, eds. . Heavy metal toxicity, safety and hormology. In: Environmental Quality & Safety, Supplement 1. New York, NY: Georg Thieme Publishers, pp. 1-120.
4. Csiky P . Uber die akuten kupfersulfat-vergiftungen. Arch Toxikol 17:20-26 (in German).
5. Marhold JV . Personal communication. VUOS, 539-18, Pardubice, Czechoslovakia, March 29, 1977.
6. Siegel MR, Sisler HD . Antifungal compounds. Vol. 1. New York, NY: Marcel Dekker, p. 507.
7. Sine C, ed. . Copper hydroxide. In: Farm chemicals handbook '91, p. C89.
8. Worthing CR, ed. . Copper hydroxide. In: The pesticide manual. A world compendium. 9th ed. Farnham, Surrey, United Kingdom: The British Crop Protection Council, p. 184.
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