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Hi, we live in Zambia and our swimming pool serves as a resivour for the garden. The only chemical we use in the pool is copper sulfate. Is it safe to swim in it while I am pregnant?

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Absolutely not. Animal studies have shown serious effects on the developing foetus.

The teratogenic effect of copper sulfate was studied by injecting pregnant hamsters with copper on the eighth day ofpregnancy in doses ranging from 2.13 to 10.0 mg Cu/kg in the form of copper sulfate. All concentrations resulted in embryocidal and teratogenic effects. Embryonic resorptions, severe heart malformations, hernias and other malformations were reported. Researchers concluded that the placentas were permeable to copper ions.54Mice were fed copper sulfate at 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 g/kg food for a month, and then mated. Pregnant mice continued with the diet until day 19. Researchers noted greater fetal mortality, lower fetal weights, and abnormalities at the two highest doses.55The U.S. EPA determined the chronic NOAEL for reproductive effects was 11.7 mg/kg body weight copper and the chronic LOAEL for reproductive effects was 15.1 mg/kg body weight of copper based on a study of mink.3Adult chickens were exposed to copper sulfate by gavage at concentrations of 200, 600, 800, 1200, and 1600 mg/kg body weight. Researchers noted testicular atrophy and spermatogenic arrest proportional to the concentrations of copper sulfate.18Rabbit sperm motility decreased when placed in solutions of copper sulfate pentahydrate ranging from 1:1 to 1:10 for 1-2 hours.56

http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/cuso4tech.html

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