Chemical hazards in drinking-water - copper
Copper is considered in the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality. You can link from here to:
The Guidelines for drinking water quality also consider for individual chemicals:
Aspects of analytical achievability [Section 8.3, pp. 157-166]
Technical achievability (through treatment and other means) [Section 8.4, pp 166-184]
Rolling revision of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality
Copper is included in the plan of work of the rolling revision of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality.
Recent studies in rabbits have suggested a link between copper in drinking-water and Alzheimer disease. Levels in the rabbits’ drinking-water were well below the current WHO guideline of 2 mg/litre, based on acute gastrointestinal effects; however, it has not been established whether rabbits are an appropriate model. In addition, a communication received by WHO Headquarters suggested the need to review the guideline value and text on copper with regard to toxicity in the preparation of formula for bottle-fed infants.
Progress to date
The GDWQ WG meeting (Geneva, 2004) agreed to monitor studies relating to the health effects of copper and to consult with infant nutrition experts. The GDWQ WG meeting (Geneva, 2005) decided that the issue would be better dealt with by the WHO nutrition group. The GDWQ WG meeting (Geneva, 2006) met with the WHO nutrition group and requested that they follow up on progress in the infant formula area at the next meeting and review the current background document on copper. No progress had been made by the time of the GDWQ WG meetings in Berlin (2007) and Singapore (2008).
Other publications of interest
- Chemical safety of drinking-water: Assessing priorities for risk management (in preparation)
- Protecting groundwater for health: managing the quality of drinking-water sources (in preparation)
- Protecting surface waters for health (in preparation)