Copper Is An Essential Mineral

But how much copper do you get by drinking water from a copper water bottle? The answer might surprise you.

Copper is an “essential mineral” because the human body needs it for biological processes. Our bodies use copper for important tasks like making red blood cells, absorbing iron, supporting the immune system, converting sugar to energy, supporting nerve health, and collagen formation.(1, 2) We usually get the necessary amount of copper from our diets, and a deficiency is uncommon but can cause health problems, like anaemia and osteoporosis.(1) Likewise, too much copper can cause issues like nausea in the short term and liver disease in the long term. (2) So it’s important to have the right balance of copper and other minerals in your system to keep your body functioning optimally.

Copper deficiencies are rare, it is estimated that 6-15% of adults could be getting below the estimated average requirement (EAR) of daily copper requirements from their diets (1). There are groups at higher risk of copper deficiency that, under the guidance of their physician, could benefit from copper supplements, or drinking water from copper water bottles or copper water dispensers. These include people with Celiac disease, Menkes disease, and people taking large amounts of zinc supplements, all of whom are at increased risk of copper deficiency (1).

Copper Water Bottles: Facts, Fiction, And The Quest For Truth

Many promoters of copper water bottles refer to centuries-old Indian and Egyptian traditions’ use of copper water containers for their health benefits. Some claim copper particles move from the metal bottle to the water, and by drinking that water daily from copper bottles can treat cancer, hypertension, thyroid problems, anaemia, arthritis, infections, and digestive issues. That it is also beneficial for the heart, cognition function, anti-aging, weight loss, and preventing stroke and diabetes.(3)

The fact is your body needs copper, along with all the other essential minerals and trace elements, plus a well-balanced lifestyle that includes good food, water, exercise and sleep. This is a holistic lifestyle that helps reduce the risk of degenerative health conditions, which helps maintain and support many all aspects of the body including the heart, cognitive processes, slow the advancement of aging etc.

Then there are some websites that claim drinking water from a copper bottle is not good because you could end up ingesting too much copper.

Other questions need to be considered, for example: are these copper bottle suppliers testing their products? Are these copper bottles pure copper or an alloy? Are the products sprayed with an anti-tarnishing lacquer that could affect the water quality? And, importantly, how much copper ends up in the water inside a copper bottle?

We decided to take our copper water bottles to a certified water testing laboratory and find out how much copper actually moves from the metal into the water .

Testing Our Copper Water Bottles 

It was important for us to check exactly what happened to water when storing it in copper, especially when so many health claims are made and debated about the benefits of drinking water from a copper bottle.

Water Egg bottles are made from 99.9% pure copper.

We took two of our brand new bottles to the water testing laboratory, and we were fascinated by the results.

Test water from copper bottle

The water testing laboratory used deionized (DI) water for the test sample. Deionized is free from all dissolved salts and ions, it is ultra pure.(5)

While DI water is good for our testing purposes you should not drink it.

Drinking water standards to know:

  • The WHO standard for copper in drinking water is 1 mg/L (6)
  • The generally accepted safe pH of water is 6.0-9.5 (7)
  • The tolerable upper intake limit of copper for adults = 10 mg (1)
  • The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of copper for an adult is  900mcg (1)

For the testing we used NEW copper water bottle products because they would have the most free copper particles available that could be transferred to the water, as opposed to older and used copper bottles, which had less available copper to transfer to the water.

 

Test #1 – Testing with Acidic Water

Deionized water with pH 4.2 (acidic) was placed into one of our new copper bottles.

Five (5) water samples were extracted from the copper water bottle over a ten (10) day period.

The results are as follows, with the amount of copper dissolved into the water reported in milligrams per litre (mg/L):

Sample # Time (days) pH Copper (mg/L)
1 0 4.2 0
2 1 5.46 5.28
3 2 5.87 4.46
4 5 6.54 1.04
5 10 6.6 0.27

 

The acidic water used in Test #1 showed an initial spike in copper concentration. However, the copper levels decreased over the 10-day testing period, moving into the acceptable range after 5 days of being stored in the copper bottle.

Even when using acidic water to draw more free copper from the inside surface of the bottle the sample did not continue to accumulate copper that was above the tolerable upper intake limit.

Test #2 – Testing Normal Drinking Water

This test was designed to monitor how much copper transferred to water inside the copper water bottle using pH 7 water, which is the normal standard pH for drinking water.

Using a NEW Water Eggs copper water bottle, the laboratory took five (5) samples from the copper bottle over seven (7) days. The results were as follows:

Sample # Time (days) pH Copper (mg/L)
1 0 7 0
2 1 7.5 0.14
3 2 7.67 0.14
4 4 7.76 0.15
5 7 7.8 0.13

 

The results of this test demonstrated copper did not accumulate in the water; rather, copper levels remained relatively stable over the course of seven days.

The copper levels were nearly eight times lower than the recommended dietary for drinking water after one week.

Interesting to note the copper continued to alkalise the water but not exceed the recommended pH limits.

Conclusions

The laboratory test results show storing water of a neutral pH 7 in a copper bottle does not cause unhealthy or excessive amounts of copper to leach into the water.

The tests also demonstrated the alkalizing benefits of the copper. After 5 days the acidic water had alkalized (increased pH) and the copper content was stable. It was recorded the copper levels in the water were safe for drinking.

The test water in Test #2 with pH 7 did not show an increase in copper content that was even close to the Tolerable Upper Intake Limit. The laboratory recorded copper levels as being at a maximum of 75% below the recommended limit for drinking water.

We do not know, as other websites claim, that drinking water from a copper bottle can give you the extensive list of health benefits or what is the base for these claims. But what we do know is research proves copper has antimicrobial properties and that copper’s passive disinfectant properties rapidly inactivate bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens on contact.

Drinking water from copper water bottles may add little copper to your diet, but it’s proven antimicrobial properties and alkalizing properties also make copper highly valuable as a choice material to drink water from.

Little wonder copper has been used for water storage for thousands of years.

References

  1. “Copper Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020. Web. 23 July 2020.
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Copper-HealthProfessional/
  2. “Copper.” Health Encyclopedia. University of Rochester Medical Center, 2020. Web. 23 July 2020. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19
  3. “Why Drink From a Copper Water Bottle?” Copper H2O. Copper H2O, 2020. Web. 23 July 2020. https://www.copperh2o.com/
  4. removed
  5. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. “The Difference Between Distilled and Deionized Water.” ThoughtCo. N.p., 2020. Web. 24 July 2020.
    https://www.thoughtco.com/distilled-versus-deionized-water-609435
  6. “Copper in Drinking-water.” Water Sanitation Hygiene. WHO, 2004. Web. 24 July 2020. https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/copper.pdf
  7. “PH in Drinking-water.” Water Sanitation Hygiene. WHO, 2007. Web. 24 July 2020. https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/ph.pdf


About the author:

Kristine Wagner MHS, CPH

Kristine holds a Master of Health Science in Environmental Health and a Certificate in Risk Science from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a Certified in Public Health Professional by the NBPHE.

 She was a Strategic Information Fellow at the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda supporting HIV/AIDS programs in conjunction with the CDC. She worked as a health scientist at Cardno ChemRisk.

 As a student, she conducted environmental health research related to oil development in the Ecuadorian Amazon and wrote her graduate thesis on drinking water contamination from hydraulic fracturing.

 Kristine is also a professional scuba diving instructor (PADI MSDT) and worked as a diver in Mexico, Thailand, and Turks & Caicos. She also speaks Spanish and French.

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