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## How to Prevent Copper Toxicity with Scuba Diving

Copper is a metal that is found in many natural waters, including the ocean. While copper is an essential nutrient for humans, it can be toxic in high doses. Scuba divers are at risk of copper toxicity if they dive in waters that are contaminated with copper.

## Sources of Copper in Water

Copper can enter water from a variety of sources, including:

Mining operations
Industrial wastewater
Corrosion of copper pipes and fixtures
Agricultural runoff

## Symptoms of Copper Toxicity

The symptoms of copper toxicity can vary depending on the dose of copper and the length of time that the person is exposed to it. Symptoms can include:

Nausea
Vomiting
Diarrhea
Abdominal pain
Headache
Fatigue
Muscle weakness
Seizures
Coma
Death

## Preventing Copper Toxicity

There are a number of things that scuba divers can do to prevent copper toxicity. These include:

Diving in clean waters. The best way to prevent copper toxicity is to dive in waters that are not contaminated with copper. This means avoiding diving in areas near mining operations, industrial wastewater discharge, and agricultural runoff.
Using a copper-free regulator. Regulators are the devices that scuba divers use to breathe underwater. Regulators can be made of a variety of materials, including copper. Divers should use a regulator that is made of a copper-free material, such as stainless steel or titanium.
Limiting dive time. The longer a diver is exposed to copper, the greater the risk of copper toxicity. Divers should limit their dive time to avoid prolonged exposure to copper.
Getting tested for copper toxicity. Divers who are concerned about copper toxicity can get tested for it. A blood test can measure the level of copper in the blood.

## Treatment for Copper Toxicity

If a diver is diagnosed with copper toxicity, treatment will depend on the severity of the toxicity. Treatment may include:

Chelation therapy. Chelation therapy is a process that uses drugs to bind to copper and remove it from the body.
IV fluids. IV fluids can help to flush copper out of the body.
Electrolyte replacement. Copper toxicity can cause electrolyte imbalances. IV fluids can help to replace these electrolytes.

## Conclusion

Copper toxicity is a serious condition that can be prevented by following the tips in this article. By diving in clean waters, using a copper-free regulator, limiting dive time, and getting tested for copper toxicity, divers can help to protect themselves from this condition.

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