3. How Do Animals And Plants Depend On Each Other Copper Sulphate – Guidelines to Safety and First Aid Procedures

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Copper Sulphate – Guidelines to Safety and First Aid Procedures

Copper sulfate is a very useful ingredient. Needless to say, however, this chemical becomes an irritant to highly toxic depending on how it is handled. Well, all substances, even water, become toxic. Toxicity depends on the amount and proper use.

Copper sulfate is a fairly stable compound which means it does not react easily with other substances. It is not flammable or combustible. But it is an environmental pollutant and should be handled with care when used in its various applications.

Initial exposure to copper sulfate causes irritation to the eyes, nasal passages, and skin. Skin irritation includes itching and redness. With the initial inhalation, coughing and difficulty in breathing appear. The substance is also an irritant of the gastrointestinal tract. Causes vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and cramps, loose bowel movements and metallic taste. With large doses of accidental ingestion of kidney failure, coma and even death may occur. Long-term exposure to copper sulfate can lead to liver damage, lung disease and reduced female fertility.

Copper occurs naturally in soil and water. Its presence in small concentrations is necessary for the growth of plants and animals. But in high concentrations copper and its compounds can pose a threat. Reduced lifespan, reproductive problems, reduced fertility, and changes in behavior and appearance are observed in animals, birds, fish, and plants that are exposed to copper sulfate. This environmental pollutant can find its way from one organism to another in what is called bioaccumulation or biomagnification.

Therefore, proper treatment of copper sulfate is required to avoid the negative effects that may otherwise accompany it.

1. Storage should be in a cool and dry area with sufficient ventilation. Alkalis, magnesium, ammonia, acetylene and sodium hypobromite are some of the substances with which copper sulfate cannot be kept. The container must be kept tightly closed. Wash your hands thoroughly after using the composition and especially before eating or drinking.

2. Wear protective clothing, impervious gloves and rubber boots to avoid skin contact. Eye protection such as goggles should also be worn.

3. Work areas must be well ventilated. This avoids the accumulation of copper sulfate fumes or mist in one area.

4. If possible, protective masks should be worn to avoid inhalation.

5. Throwing copper waste into waterways is an offence. High concentrations of copper in rivers and streams are toxic to aquatic ecosystems.

In case of contact, the following measures can be taken:

1. In case of eye contact, immediately flush the affected eye with lukewarm running water for about 20 minutes. Keep your eyelids open. Make sure the water is clean. If the affected person wears a contact lens, do not hesitate to remove it. Seek medical help.

2. In case of skin contact, contaminated clothes, pants, shoes, etc. should be removed. Gently wash the area under clean, lukewarm running water for five minutes. Get medical help quickly.

3. In case of accidental inhalation, remove the victim from the area to open air and then seek medical help.

4. If a person has swallowed copper sulfate, allow the victim to drink 60 to 240 ml of water. The victim may vomit. This is the body’s natural way of eliminating the foreign substance. Rinse your mouth with water. However, never force the victim to drink water if he is unconscious.

Copper sulfate spills are hazardous to health. The area must be isolated and any attempt at entry by unauthorized and unprotected persons must not be allowed. Small spills can be cleaned up and wiped up. Large volumes of spilled copper sulfate can be neutralized with sodium carbonate or soda ash. Dispose of waste materials properly. Contamination of this substance in soil, streams and sewers must be prevented. The substance is a known pollutant at certain levels.

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