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Author: Subject: Copper salts, a cautionary tale.
Sedit
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[*] posted on 18-12-2012 at 22:09
Copper salts, a cautionary tale.


I wish I could write more on the subject but I wanted to put this out there since I am 99% sure now that this is the cause of my affliction.

I have been de-plating gold plated jewelry using HCl/H2O2. The HCl was made from H2SO4 and NaCl dissolved in H2O2.

Its very haphazard and im just playing at the moment until I get more HCl and am able to work the 2000+ grams of plated material.

Anyway.... This is at least the third time I have woken up the next day with the worst muscle and body pains you could imagine. Its like I ran a marathon the day before and I am convinced its due to copper toxicity.

Has anyone else ever noticed anything like this or am I just special and sensitive to such a thing? It wasn't until I started looking into it that I realized that the LD 50 and the likes is rather low for copper sulfate.



[Edited on 19-12-2012 by ScienceSquirrel]





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[*] posted on 18-12-2012 at 22:23


I've worked with salts of copper plenty a time before now. Now, being the careless, stupid chemist that I am, more often than not a drop of whatever solution I'm using is guaranteed to get on my skin somehow.
What about the HCl, H2SO4, etc.? Those might be affecting you more.




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[*] posted on 18-12-2012 at 23:19


my hands have been completely green palmed many a times from e-waste leaching. and I have never had any sore muscles from it. no headache or anything else either. I made a fair amount of CuSO4 by electrolysis, I reclaim gold from e-waste with muriatic and peroxide like you, and I electrolyzed a bunch of copper, nickel, chromium, lead and small amounts of many other metals. in HCl, H2SO4, vinegar, NaOH sol. and others. and even with all that and getting liquid on me often, I have never gotten even a headache.( quite careful about Pb, Cr+6 ) I always wash up right away unless its just CuCl2 leaching. and of course I am not bragging about being sloppy like I'm badass, but $hit happens. and usually while you are holding something ya can't just drop. anyhow you may just be quite sensitive to it. yes I have had a heavy metals blood test, below normal thanx. shoulda seen the look on the nurses face as she was listing off some toxic metals and asking if I owned/contacted them. yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, no, yep, no, no, yep. what can I say, I find diff metals interesting.

so how much were you exposed to? by comparison to my green hands comment... cause if you are just talking a lill patch or 2 on fingers, no way. I deff would have felt some pain if that was the case for threshold. another good question is do you get localized dermatitis, itching, reddening, swelling of knuckles? good luck figuring it out
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[*] posted on 18-12-2012 at 23:31


Swollen knuckles yes, majorly which is one of the things that increases the pain. Im at a loss as to any other cause for these pains because everytime is followed by relatively low levels of exposure. Could it be a cumulative effect or something that is pushed over the edge now buy the salts or could there be something else in the jewelry like Pb, Sn or something of that nature that could cause this?

I





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[*] posted on 18-12-2012 at 23:50


I have severe doubts about your problems coming from the copper. I myself have done a lot of experimenting with copper and its salts and I never have been particularly careful in not getting any copper salt on my skin. Actually, I have to admit that I still, when working with copper sulfate or copper chloride, I am not very careful. I never have noticed any ill effects.

I always have understood that copper ions are only moderately toxic to humans and most mammals, while being very toxic to plants and some lower life forms.




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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 01:46


Don't know if it applies but I have heard of similar symptoms in people with allergic reactions to poor quality jewelry. Histamine production and rheumatoid arthritis type swelling in joints. Usually their skin gets greenish areas where the cheap plated rings and so forth contact it. Flu like pain is common as well. The cause is an actual allergic reaction or sensitization to the metals. Seems to me ions of such metals in solution contacting the skin would cause a greater effect in these cases than merely wearing the metal items where slow chemical reactions between amines on the skin and the metals occur. One would think however you would have already had experience at some point from wearing such items, at least noticing skin coloration. I could be off the mark but it is at least a plausible theory to consider. Copper, brass, and gold plate would surely relate to the cheap jewelry sensitization some people have. I know of this as my mom decades ago had such problems not to mention in her last 20 years real problems with rheumatoid arthritis. Could the biochemical cause in people who develop rheumatoid arthritis and/or have reactions to wearing such metals, relate to this contact sensitization with cheap rings and earrings and the turning green issue where the plated alloys contact the skin. Especially if you were inhaling minute amounts of mists coming from your working with these metals in solution. Does anyone think there might be a connection here?






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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 03:21


I'd say it's influenza.
If you're feeling like shit, you better go to your doctor.




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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 05:34


Its not the flu I trust me on that.

Also I have messed around with chemistry for years and never had this problem till recently. I totally understand everyone sceptisim and I am still on the fence myself but the timing seems more then a coincidence at this point. It's three times now over a large period of time where I have woke the next day with these pains and perhaps its not the copper but its something in the acids and/or the copper thats causing this. It only last for perhaps a day and a half or two.





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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 13:15


Aww, should've kept the 'cationary tale' part of the title. It was hilarious!



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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 13:32


Could be a nickel layer in the plating? Nickel allergy is reasonably common.



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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 14:04


Nickel allergy is very common, notably among brass wind musicians (nickel on mouthpiece under a layer of silver, I think).
It is a plausible cause of this problem. Ask for a doctor.




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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 15:44


i was getting severe headaches to the which everyone would tell me it was all the chemicals i was tinkering with.i was all bummed out and was starting to even admit to it all the while i would look closely at the wood shelving in my tool shed. i was about to rip all the wood out thinking that chlorine or nitric had gotten to the wood and was emitting fumes.damn patchouli oil i ordered on ebay that i was using as insect repellant was the culprit and it was making me piss twice every night too.i was like Please PLEASE not my salts and chemicals.i hope its not copper or anything of the sort sedit because i would rather find a voodoo doll with a pin in its head than to give up chemicals.
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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 16:09


This s an AMATEUR chemistry board. If you think you may be suffering from poisoning, see a real doctor.



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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 16:10


I guess headaches was common for chemist of ye old 1800s. I do not have headache but I bled from my nose for no apparent reason during the night. I cannot smell anymore most smells. Vinegar smell give me pain to the nose but chlorine,bromine smell quite good. I guess me chemistry hobby spoiled my nose... I have also two permanent chemical burn. But my I don't have poisoning, at least blood test say so.

I don't think copper can do such poisoning, however, in E-waste much toxic metals are present. Take note that insoluble toxic metal are of no harm to human, but moderately toxic soluble one, are.

[Edited on 20-12-2012 by plante1999]

[Edited on 20-12-2012 by plante1999]




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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 16:20


I can't see how you manage to get metal poisoning from something as benign as Cu (relative to V, Cr, Ba and the likes) without doing something seriously wrong. And by "seriously wrong" I mean wetting your skin with Cu solutions and inhaling aerosols of the stuff over time. What, exactly, have you been doing, and what protective equipment (if any) did you use?

Quote: Originally posted by triplepoint  
This s an AMATEUR chemistry board. If you think you may be suffering from poisoning, see a real doctor.

This.




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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 16:24


Sedit, I noticed similar symptoms as you mentioned during the time I was messing around with copper/nickel separation. I, too, credited the symptoms to copper toxicity. It turns out that the very fine copper powder I was churning out was [at least partially] nano-sized. Each time I uncapped the bottle of powder, I'd smell something strange even when I didn't agitate the bottle much. After I made the connection, I used a light trick to 'see' the copper dust that was emitted.

Oddly, I never recall such symptoms from slight exposure to copper salts or solutions of the same. Of course, it was skin exposure, not respiratory. Just to be on the safe side, I took some ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and zinc supplements for a few days after. The symptoms cleared up shortly after; I believe the same will hold true for you.

Has anyone else here gotten a whiff of fine copper dust?? :o

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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 16:41


Quote: Originally posted by m1tanker78  


Has anyone else here gotten a whiff of fine copper dust?? :o

Tank


Metal dust/ fumes are very dangerous for us, humans. I never read why, But I think it is a mix of two factor. One,these metals are not healthy and usually somewhat toxic. Secondly, metal dust are not removable, when entered in your lung, I don't think it clear up in a month. Some metal are less susceptible to do health problem, such as titanium.




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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 17:12


Quote: Originally posted by plante1999  

Metal dust/ fumes are very dangerous for us, humans. [...]


I agree but my ignorance got the best of me. I never expected the copper powder to rise up out of the jar like fumes! All I want for Christmas is a fume hood. :/

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[*] posted on 19-12-2012 at 17:56


"I have been de-plating gold plated jewelry"

Everyone is focusing on Cu but what other metals are really involved. Metal fume fever has flu like symptoms, I know this from arc welding galvanized pipe 18 hours a day when I was 20. No internet to look things up, no knowledge on the subject easily available, and no mention from the company of any danger. Plus, sensitization of an allergic nature is possible in some people and the amount of exposure to cause it can be exceedingly small.

If you carefully consider the symptoms mentioned, swollen knuckles is likely related to histamine production. One can consider arthritis to be an allergic reaction where your own immune system is attacking various areas in your body. This coupled with the rapid onset related to his chemical working leads me to think he is extremely sensitive and allergic to something in his de-plating. Possibly after symptoms subside he can one by one expose himself in a safe way to each element or chemical to find the cause. Going to a specialist is no fun unless you like slow torture with needles. Been there done that. They paint a zillion dots on your back and poke each one with a needle tainted with a list of substances keeping a map or record. Then later they look to see which ones show a reaction. I doubt however they will use any of the substances he is dealing with so this may tell him nothing.




[Edited on 12-20-2012 by IrC]




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[*] posted on 20-12-2012 at 06:01


How about chlorine fumes from the de-plating bath?? Those aren't terribly healthy.
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[*] posted on 20-12-2012 at 11:41


Quote: Originally posted by Wizzard  
How about chlorine fumes from the de-plating bath?? Those aren't terribly healthy.


Hmm, with elemental halogens I'd worry more about lung damage than joint pains. AFAIK those symptoms point towards metal poisoning.




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[*] posted on 20-12-2012 at 13:04


I'm sure I have read of agricultural workers spraying copper based fungicides that stained their skin blue.
They didn't seem to be affected in the way you are suggesting.

If I'm right then it's not copper and you should go and see a doctor (to find out what it is).
On the other hand, if I'm wrong then you have copper poisoning and should see a doctor.

On the other hand if you have been exposed to fumes from burning zinc...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_fume_fever

in which case, go and see a doctor.
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[*] posted on 20-12-2012 at 13:14


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
I'm sure I have read of agricultural workers spraying copper based fungicides that stained their skin blue.
They didn't seem to be affected in the way you are suggesting.

If I'm right then it's not copper and you should go and see a doctor (to find out what it is).
On the other hand, if I'm wrong then you have copper poisoning and should see a doctor.

On the other hand if you have been exposed to fumes from burning zinc...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_fume_fever

in which case, go and see a doctor.

In a nutshell, you ought to see a doctor now.




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[*] posted on 20-12-2012 at 14:23


Many people are unaware that many platinum and gold salts are actually quite toxic as well. Especially platinum salts, some of which are used for chemotherapy.

But acute poisoning with these salts or copper salts do not normally give the symptoms you describe.

My vote is on nickel allergy as well, but do see a real professional doctor if you really are keen to find out. Unfortunately though, if it really turns out to be nickel poisoning, I suspect he will suggest to give up your hobby.




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[*] posted on 20-12-2012 at 17:05


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
in which case, go and see a doctor.


Not always useful. I overhead welded galvanized conduit in 18 hour shifts to I-beams where the pipe was going to house a cable bundle all around the plant to various control devices. No knowledge (1974 IIRC) no information, and as I said no mention by the company of any danger. Wiki would have been nice back then. Went to work very ill like flu on and off over several months. One doctor had me taking Marax (SP?, a broncho-dilator) so I could get my breath. Another kept saying I was smoking weed laced with chemicals as the cause of a nearly life threatening bronchial infection so bad it got down into my lungs and I was going to work with walking pneumonia repeatedly for a long time. I really was not well for damn near a year after I quit that job. I kept telling the idiot taking my money (no, health insurance was not available from that company, typical in that era) that I had not been smoking anything but it fell on deaf ears. Had He believed me that it must be work related perhaps He could have read up on the subject. I assume doctors were aware of MFF even back then. Not that one, in my experience then and on many occasions over the years since I have had many bouts of problems where the doctor never listened to you and never believed a word you said to them. So my advice is if you do go to one make sure they listen to you. I vote on the Nickel allergy scenario as well for a strong possibility as to the cause of your troubles.





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