are the health implications of swimming in a pool with copper in the
The Department of
Water Affairs and Forestry sets down guidelines for water quality for
human use in South Africa.
South African Water Quality Guidelines (second edition). Volume 1:
Domestic Use, published in 1996 states on page 58 "it is
recommended that the concentration of copper in potable water should not
exceed 30 mg/l . . ."
water refers to water that you can bath in, cook with and drink. You can
obviously, therefore, also swim in it.
In order to achieve
this concentration, one would have to simultaneously empty more than 15
bottles of Activator D into a normal-sized (i.e. 50 000 litre) swimming
pool (see the calculations). Assuming the
water was drinkable prior to this unlikely action, the water would still
be drinkable afterwards, even with this amount of copper added.
The document also
concentrations of copper impart a disagreeable taste to water, and
consumption of such water is therefore highly unlikely." (page
measures to counteract the effects of having ingested excessive
amounts of copper are usually unnecessary since, even at the
threshold concentration for health effects, nausea and consequent
vomiting result, which rid the body of copper." (page 58)
In other words
copper cannot poison you because:
As a matter of
interest, the concentration limit for "severe poisoning" is
200 mg/l, some 100 bottles of Activator D in a normal-sized pool.
sulphate is water soluble. It cannot, therefore, enter the human body
through the skin which is impervious to water.