TABLE 5-1 Case Reports of Copper Toxicosis Following Oral Exposures of Humans to Copper Salts


Sex, Age, Number


Clinical Sequelae and Comments

Percival 1784

F, 17 yr, 1

Ingestion of ≈ 100 to 130 g of a pickled vegetable, shown by analysis to be contaminated with Cu

Abdominal pain, generalized rash, flatulence, vomiting, diarrhea, cardiac arrhythmia, death on the 8th day post-exposure

Griffin 1951

M, adults, 6

Ingestion of coffee brewed with water from a Cu-contaminated, gas-heated boiler

Nausea, vomiting, malaise

Ross 1955

M F, NS, 12

Stewed apples, cooked in a Cu vessel, were served to 87 adults and 458 children; 3 adults and 9 children developed symptoms

Bitter taste, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

Roberts 1956

M, 24 yr, 1

≈ 400 g of CuSO4 in water over a 4-mo period (≈ 2 g Cu per day)

Abdominal pain, hemolytic anemia

Sanghvi et al. 1957

M, 18, 20 yr, 2

Ingestion of CuSO4 (amounts unknown) with suicidal intent

Sulfhemoglobinemia, acute renal tubular necrosis, azotemia, anuria, coma, and death

Wyllie 1957

F, NR, 15

Contaminated alcohol lemon cocktails from cocktail shakers containing Cu; estimated Cu ingestion, 5–32 mg

Weakness, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting in 10/13 nurses; possible causes, other than Cu, not excluded

Semple et al. 1960

M, NR, 18

Contaminated tea (≈ 250 mL) containing Cu at 44 mg/L; tea made with water from a Cu-lined, gas-heated boiler

Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and headache developed in 18 of 150 workers within 10 min after drinking the tea

Le Van and Perry 1961


Unspecified number of men on ship drank Cu-contaminated soft drink (Cu content not stated) from a vending machine

Several men developed mild nausea

Chowdhury et al. 1961

M F, adults, 20

12 women and 8 men attempted suicide by ingestion of unknown quantities of CuSO4

Epigastric pain, nausea, jaundice, hemolysis, hemoglobinuria, proteinuria, glucosuria, hypotension, tachycardia, stupor; no deaths

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