Three Ways Copper Contributes to Human Health
05 Apr 2017
Each year on April 7th, people around the world come together to celebrate World Health Day. This global awareness day encourages everyone to consider important health topics and to engage in an open discussion about these issues. Each person encounters thousands of materials, foods, and choices each day that can impact their health. Many of us will never realize all of the factors that can influence our well-being.
For example, many people do not know that copper can have a positive influence in a variety of ways. In addition to providing our electricity, plumbing and architecture, copper contributes to our health in ways big and small.
1) Copper Provides Clean Drinking Water
Copper has been used to deliver safe, clean water for over 4,000 years, since the ancient Egyptians used the material to distribute water back in 2150 B.C. Copper continues to be the top choice for delivering drinking water, due to benefits like corrosion resistance, formability, join-ability, dependability, recyclability and safety.
Copper tube and fittings are the original lead-free piping materials. Solders and fluxes have been lead-free since 1978. Now, as municipalities and water systems look to replace lead service lines due to health and safety concerns, many have examined the technical and cost-benefits of copper versus plastics as a replacement choice, and have chosen copper.
2) Copper Surfaces Are Antimicrobial
Copper is being used in hospitals, restaurants and train stations around the world to help create more hygienic environments. When cleaned regularly, Antimicrobial Copper alloys are the only solid metal touch surface materials registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continuously kill more than 99.9% of bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) within two hours of contact. Hospitals across North America have installed antimicrobial copper touch surfaces to supplement their infection control programs in order to help combat HAIs. When combined with standard infection control practices, copper can be used to help create a safer and healthier environment.
3) Copper is an Essential Nutrient
Copper is a mineral that is necessary for human health. We all have a small amount of copper in our bodies that contributes to a variety of important functions. It facilitates cardiovascular and neurological health, builds connective tissue in the brain and promotes bone development. Copper also helps to maintain sufficient levels of red blood cells, and is required for enzymes involved in energy metabolism. In fact, too little copper in the diet can lead to health problems. Menkes syndrome, a disorder that affects copper levels in the body, can often be fatal.
Copper is not manufactured by our bodies, so humans have to get copper through their diets. Luckily for us, copper is found in many delicious foods. Dark chocolate is rich in copper, so you can feel a little less guilty next time you reach for a candy bar. Pecans, chick peas and spinach are also good sources of copper. Who knew that the same metal we use each day to turn on the lights or to get a glass of water is also an essential part of our diet?
The world’s oldest metal has been used by humans in a multitude of ways since it was first discovered thousands of years ago. We still use the metal for many of its traditional uses, such as water distribution, but over the years humans have invented new and innovative ways to use the material. From conducting electricity, powering renewable energy and helping to fight infections, copper is continuously used to advance technology and to benefit our lives.