From the WebMD Archives

Aug. 8, 2017 -- It may be time to put away those trendy copper mugs -- what you put in them could lead to copper poisoning.

The State of Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division released an advisory in July as a reminder of federal guidelines for foods that come in contact with copper and copper alloys. The release was a response to the growing popularity of an alcoholic drink called the Moscow Mule, usually served in a copper mug.

The concern stems from chemistry. The FDA’s Model Food Code prohibits food that a pH of less than 6.0 to come into direct contact with copper and copper alloys like brass. A Moscow Mule, as well as wine, fruit juice, and vinegar, have a pH of less than 6.0.

Something so acidic can make copper leach into food.

Copper naturally occurs in the environment, and some exposure can be good for your health. But long-term exposure can cause nausea, dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, and irritation to your mouth, nose, and eyes.

Not all copper mugs are potentially poisonous. Those lined with other metals like stainless steel or nickel are safe.

For more information on copper poisoning, you can call the CDC at 800-CDC-INFO or read the CDC’s public statement on copper.

Show Sources

State of Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division: “Use of Copper Mugs in the Serving of Alcoholic Beverages.”

© 2017 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info