What is copper?
Copper is a metal found in natural deposits such as ores containing other elements.

Uses for copper?
Copper is widely used in household plumbing materials.

What are coppers health effects?
Some people who drink water containing copper in excess of the action level may, with short term exposure, experience gastrointestinal distress, and with long-term exposure may experience liver or kidney damage. People with Wilson’s Disease should consult their personal doctor if the amount of copper in their water exceeds the action level.
This health effects language is not intended to catalog all possible health effects for copper. Rather, it is intended to inform consumers of some of the possible health effects associated with copper in drinking water when the rule was finalized.

How does copper get into my drinking water?
The major sources of copper in drinking water are corrosion of household plumbing systems; and erosion of natural deposits. Copper enters the water  through contact with the plumbing. Copper leaches into water through corrosion  a dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and your plumbing. Copper can leach into water primarily from pipes, but fixtures and faucets (brass), and fittings can also be a source.  The amount of copper in your water also depends on the types and amounts of minerals in the water, how long the water stays in the pipes, the amount of wear in the pipes, the water is acidity and its temperature.

How will I know if copper is in my drinking water?
If you are concerned about copper in your drinking water, have the water tested for copper by a certified laboratory. (Lists are available from your state or local drinking water authority.) Since you cannot see, taste, or smell copper dissolved in water, testing is the only sure way of telling whether there are harmful quantities of lead in your drinking water. You should be particularly suspicious if your home has copper pipes. if you see signs of corrosion (frequent leaks, rust-colored water, stained dishes or laundry, or if your non-plastic plumbing is less than five years old. Your water supplier may have useful information, including whether the service connector used in your home or area is made of copper. Testing is especially important in high-rise buildings where flushing might not work.

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