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How much copper sulphate would you consume before you die


Q. I was wondering if you consume a Diluted copper sulfate [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] can it kill you, and if it can how much do you have to consume before you die?

Bob B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- St.Johns, Newfoundland, Canada

Writing a murder mystery? Planning an episode of Fear Factor, Bob?  :-)

Of all the things that can kill you, why dilute copper sulphate, as opposed to dandelions, red ants, or toothpicks? Shall we read between the lines and scream "Get to a Doctor immediately if you drank it!"

Consuming too much of anything at all will kill you. How much copper sulphate it takes would depend on whether it was diluted 1:1 or 10,000:1, your body weight & general health, whether it was a one-day accident or you feel you've been drinking it continuously through well pollution (polluting a well with root killer), etc., ad infinitum. Abstract question are usually impossible to answer; please try to post your real world question and we'll try to help. Thanks!

Ted Mooney   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. First, what is dilute? Second, it will depend on your body size and how strong an immune system you have. Third, it will depend on at what rate you injest it. Forth, are you planning on suicide, if so, it will not be a pleasant way to go. Fifth, what was your real question?

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. Process: copper is attacked with sulphuric acid. Chemical formula: CuSO4.5H2O. Appearance: large blue obliquely angled crystals, soluble in water.

Copper content: 25.5%, LD50 Acute oral: >1,000 mg/kg in adult male rats. 1 gram per kilo of rat will kill 50% of the test rats. People will be similar. A 220 pound man will take about 100 grams to kill 50% more or less.

Since CuSO4 is not an acute toxin it kills by gross chemical effects on membranes of the heavy metal copper it will have a similar LD50 in all mammals.

Solubility: very soluble in water 230 g/kg at 25°C, not very stable. When heated, copper sulphate loses its crystallisation water and becomes white, but regains its blue colour in the presence of even a minimum trace of humidity.

Formulation: neutralisation hard to obtain and to maintain, pH quite acid.

Bill Jackson
- Toronto, Canada


A. Dear Bob:

First of all, I have to express similar concerns over the nature of your question. If you or someone else has ingested this material, you need to consult your local poison control center and get it dealt with. On the other hand, you will find that soliciting this kind of information from any organization will be met with suspicion. For instance, one of the hats I wear is training for hazardous materials in the workplace and wanted to compare the lethal doses between the different types of alcohols (including drinking alcohol) in order to make a point about exposure. While I could easily find the information on Isopropyl Alcohol [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and ethanol (because it is published), I simply could not convince anybody to share the same information on drinking alcohol ... no matter what reason I gave them. I suppose this makes sense.

Warren Keller
- Burlington, Ontario

January 16, 2009

The question is simply a question for knowledge, first you need to know how much of something will kill you in order to find a way to stop it from happening. People, don't think the worst of things because its an unusual question sometimes it is for the good

richar rodriguz
- tucson Arizona

I'm not "thinking the worst", Richar. I'm simply saying that carefully defined, very limited, purposeful questions can often be answered with a paragraph or two as is appropriate to a public forum; but explaining the complete human toxicology of copper sulphate would require book-length treatment, so we can't help with that.


Ted Mooney,   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

September 13, 2012

Q. Please can you give me some advice. I recently bought a cereal. While eating it, I tasted a metal taste. Upon looking at the cereal I noticed blue particles in the white cereal. The cereal company says it was copper sulphate which was not sieved properly when added to the dry ingredients. I have suffered migraines and sores on my skin ... could this be from the copper sulphate? I look forward to your reply. Thank you.

Jules Rainsford
- south africa

September 14, 2012

A. Hi Jules. To someone like myself with no medical qualifications, those symptoms sound quite unlikely, although vomiting sounds likely. But you really need to get medical advice from doctors. Feel better.


Ted Mooney,   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

September 14, 2012

HI Ted
Thank you for your response. I will ask my doctor.
Kind regards,

Jules Rainsford
- south africa

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