Archive for August, 2009

Copper: Essential Nutrient (Part 2 of 3)

August 28th, 2009 No comments

By Ruth Danzeisen, PhD, DABT

Nutrition labelThe healthy trio: iron, zinc, and copper
Everyone knows about the need to get enough iron and zinc in their diet. In fact, many people take zinc supplements when they want to boost their immune systems. What most people don’t know, however, is that copper is equally important for health and the immune system, and that too much zinc can make it difficult for the body to obtain enough copper.

Copper is needed for the formation of blood cells and for neurological health. People who overdose on zinc supplements for many years can develop anemia and neurological symptoms, such as gait abnormalities. Usually, these symptoms are reversible with a proper balance of zinc and copper.

For optimal health with regard to the essential trio of iron, zinc, and copper, we should follow the U.S. National Academy of Sciences guideline: Anyone (in any age group) who takes an iron supplement of 30 mg or more per day should, under the supervision of a physician, balance it with about 15 mg of zinc and 2 mg of copper. Moreover, pregnant women should consult with their physicians to ensure that their prenatal supplements contain the proper balance of iron, zinc, and copper. has further reading on copper in human health.

Ruth Danzeisen, Phd, DABT, is a toxicologist and microbiologist, and the assistant program director of the Health and Health Environment Program of the International Copper Association.

Copper: Essential Nutrient (Part 1 of 3)

August 25th, 2009 No comments

By Ruth Danzeisen, PhD, DABT

Most people know that copper “runs our lives” by conducting electricity and heat. But did you know that copper occurs naturally in our bodies Mother feeding her babyas a life-sustaining essential nutrient?

Every body needs copper for blood vessel formation for a healthy heart, for stabilizing the connective tissue, which binds one part of the body to another, and for healthy bones and teeth. Copper is also needed for brain development and for effective communication between nerve cells in the brain.

In fact, copper is so important to our health that the absence of it can cause death. This is the case in a rare genetic disorder called Menkes disease: Menkes patients cannot absorb copper from food into their bodies, and sadly they die before they reach toddler age. There is no Bowls of legumestreatment for Menkes disease at this time, and research is underway to find a way to supply copper to these patients effectively.

Most people, however, can absorb copper, which is plentiful in a variety of the foods we eat every day, such as shellfish, nuts, legumes, mushrooms, barley, cooked tomato products, liver, and even chocolate. has further reading on copper in human health.

Ruth Danzeisen, Phd, DABT, is a toxicologist and microbiologist, and the assistant program director of the Health and Health Environment Program of the International Copper Association.

Heavy Metal Tour

August 20th, 2009 No comments

Early yesterday morning, 136,000 pounds of copper left Rio Tinto’s Kennecott refinery in Magna, Utah, on the first leg of a 2,900-mile heavy metal tour that will culminate a year from now at the site of the new Utah Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City.

Signing of commemorative posterAfter having been extracted at Bingham Canyon Mine and processed at Kennecott, the new copper cathodes will travel across the country, stopping in Mesa, Arizona, and Buffalo, New York, for further processing into sheets. The finished copper will reach its final destination to become the shell of the new museum.

The entire project is being documented on the museum’s Web site, giving the public in Utah and beyond a rare opportunity to observe the copper’s journey, from blasted rock, through the fabrication process, to the construction of a brand new copper-sheathed museum complex that will be named the Utah Museum of Natural History at the Rio Tinto Center.

The copper is part of a $15 million donation by Rio Tinto, the parent company of Kennecott Utah Copper. “Kennecott’s support for the museum dates back 30 years,” noted museum director Sarah George. “Its financial donations for special events, exhibits, and educational programming have provided learning opportunities to tens of thousands of visitors annually.” The Utah State Legislature provided additional funding.

Interior of new museumCopper was selected as the ideal material for the building’s façade because of its timelessness, durability, and strong local significance. The copper bands that will comprise the façade will be enriched with two types of copper-zinc alloy that will enhance the subtle variegation in the copper’s natural patina. Over time, the façade will go from being as bright as a penny to a dark brown, and finally, to a beautiful variegated verde finish.

“The copper façade roots the museum to the Utah landscape by virtue of both the material’s origin and its design expression as a natural form,” said John Branson, principal, GSBS Architects. “The copper will be integral to the museum’s unique identity and become a recognizable feature of one of the state’s most loved and admired institutions.”

The present Utah Museum of Natural History houses more than 1.5 million objects, providing unique natural history experiences to Utah residents through exhibits, special events, and programs, and a variety of outreach activities with communities and schools. The new facility will expand the museum’s services to include eight themed exhibitions, a children’s gallery, a large changing exhibits gallery, a cafe, and a museum store.

A press event was held at the Kennecott refinery to announce the new museum project and kick off the cross-country tour. Commemorative Heavy Metal Tour posters and earplugs were distributed to the crowds of copper fans and local media that came to witness the big send-off.

The public can follow the copper’s fabrication process over the next several months by:

Copper in Architecture Awards – 2009

August 17th, 2009 1 comment

Richmond Center for Visual ArtsThe 2009 winners of the North American Copper in Architecture  (NACIA) Awards were announced this month and they do not disappoint. Twelve outstanding projects – nine from the United States and three from Canada – made the cut. They represent the best in both new construction and renovation, and include a Native American-inspired residential compound, an Ontario health center, a major New Jersey boat terminal, a visual arts complex in western Michigan, an Arizona golf facility, and a historic New York courthouse.

The NACIA Awards program, sponsored by the Copper Development Association (CDA) and the Canadian Copper & Brass Development Association (CCBDA), recognizes North American building projects that demonstrate an outstanding use of architectural copper and copper alloys.

Each of the 2009 finalists was selected for its excellence in craftsmanship, attention to detail, and architectural vision. Seen together, they show the amazing range of color, texture, finish, and form that is possible with copper. Over time, they will prove with their durability and timeless beauty the wisdom of choosing this most versatile natural resource.

The CDA has posted a slide show and project description for each of the 2009 winners.

Would you like to nominate an outstanding copper building project? The call for entries for the 2010 North American Copper in Architecture Awards is now open. Submissions will be accepted through January 31, 2010.

An Engineer from Tucson Finds Copper in New York

August 11th, 2009 No comments
Adam Estelle, guest blogger

Adam Estelle, guest blogger

With about two months to go before graduation, I suddenly realized I hadn’t put much thought into life after college. All the other Materials Science majors at the University of Arizona seemed to have glamorous plans for research, grad school, travel, or at least something more interesting than staying in Tucson, Arizona.

I frantically passed out resumes to several local companies and to my relief, was invited to a hiring event for a large defense agency shortly after graduating in May of 2008. After an intensive but successful interview process, including fingerprints and a mug shot, I was sent home with my head high, believing I would soon be an employee of the United States Federal Government.

Apparently, Uncle Sam had other plans, and I soon received an emotionless response that the position was no longer available. So began the discouraging and exhausting process of emails, phone calls, letters, lunches, and the other joys of job searching.

In the midst of my search, I came across a listing for a job in New York City. At 22, I didn’t think I was ready to leave Tucson, let alone Arizona, but the clock was ticking. After a phone interview and several letters of recommendation, I found myself on a plane to New York for an interview. I was immediately immersed in a tightly knit group of individuals guarding the destiny of the United States copper industry.

After a long plane ride home and several patient days of waiting, I was given an offer and found myself heading back east with two suitcases and my foot in the door of a multi-billion dollar industry.

I read voraciously to get up to speed on the current projects and soon found out that the opportunities and responsibilities of a young engineer in the copper industry would increase at a breathtaking pace.

As I learned more about the oldest metal used by man, a forgotten property used by the ancients would come to dictate the majority of my time: copper kills germs. I became engulfed in the rediscovery of this phenomenon along with the legal, regulatory, and industry-related challenges that came with it.

Adam Estelle is a project engineer with the Copper Development Association. He will be blogging from time to time on his work with antimicrobial copper.

Changes to the LEED™ New Construction Rating System

August 5th, 2009 No comments
Liv Haselbach, guest blogger

Liv Haselbach, guest blogger

Indoor Air Quality and Energy Efficiency Now Key to Projects Becoming Certified

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) released an updated version of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for New Construction and Major Renovations in April 2009. The 2009 version replaces the 2.2 version for projects registering after the release date.

This green rating system provides a format within which buildings and their associated sites can be developed in a more sustainable manner. It requires that certain minimum standards be met for a few specific prerequisites such as nonsmoking areas and minimum ventilation requirements, and then allows the developer to choose from a list of green options for credits in several categories, each with associated point values. A certain level of points attained will allow for a project to be LEED certified, and additional points can be attained for higher levels of certification, such as the ‘silver’ level in version 2.2, with a minimum of 33 points.

Although there were not many major changes between the credits in the two recent versions (2.2 and 2009), the point values have changed significantly. The five main categories in both versions are Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Overall, the relative values of the Sustainable Sites and the Water Efficiency categories from version 2.2 to 2009 have not changed much. However, the relative value of the Energy and Atmosphere category has increased by 41%, while the relative values of the total points available in the Material and Resources and the Indoor Environmental Quality categories have decreased by 32% and 35% respectively.

For specific credits, the relative value of the Energy Efficiency credit has increased by 30% while the relative value of the Increased Ventilation credit has decreased by 35%.

What this means to those designing HVAC systems is that measures that improve energy efficiency have become more important. Therefore the adoption of technologies that improve indoor air quality and simultaneously improve, rather than decrease, energy efficiency will more readily aid in obtaining LEED certification.

For more information:

Liv Haselbach is an associate professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Washington State University and specializes in sustainable development.