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Derivation of a UL. The NOAEL of 10 mg/day was divided by the UF of 1.0 to obtain a UL of 10 mg/day (10,000 μg/day) of copper intake from food and supplements.

Copper UL Summary, Ages 19 Years and Older

UL for Adults


19 years

10 mg/day (10,000 μg/day) of copper

Other Life Stage Groups

Infants. For infants, the UL was judged not determinable because of insufficient data on adverse effects in this age group and concern about the infant’s ability to handle excess amounts of copper. To prevent high levels of copper intake, the only source of intake for infants should be food and formula.

Children and Adolescents. In the general, healthy population there are no reports of liver damage from copper ingestion; however, there are many reports of liver damage in children having defects in copper homeostasis. Given the dearth of information, the UL values for children and adolescents are extrapolated from those established for adults. Thus, the adult UL of 10,000 μg/day of copper was adjusted for children and adolescents on the basis of relative body weight as described in Chapter 2 using reference weights from Chapter 1 (Table 1-1). Values have been rounded down.

Pregnancy and Lactation. No studies involving supplemental copper intake by pregnant or lactating women were found. Given the dearth of information, it is recommended that the UL for pregnant and lactating females be the same as that for the nonpregnant and nonlactating females.

Copper UL Summary, Ages 0 through 18 Years, Pregnancy, Lactation

UL for Infants


0–12 months

Not possible to establish; source of intake should be from food and formula only

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