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Copper Headed to SETAC 31st Annual Meeting

November 8th, 2010

Bob Weed, Copper Development Association Vice President, OEM

The copper industry is pleased to be represented at the SETAC North America 31st Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon next week by Joe Gorsuch, Manager of Health & Environmental Sciences at the Copper Development Association (CDA) and Bob Dwyer, Associate Director of Health & Environment Program, at the International Copper Association (ICA). Bob and Joe address environmental regulations and work with environmental toxicologists, chemists and engineers to collect ecotox for the copper industry so the meetings and information sharing about scientific studies is very much up their alley. 

 
 
 

Joe Gorsuch, Health and Environmental Sciences CDA

The Copper in Brake Pads Issue

 

One of our goals at the conference is to get the message out about our position on the recent brake pad issue.  To give a little background, in the past year, the states of California and Washington passed laws that will ultimately limit the amount of copper used in brake pads.  The legislation came after years of study, education and cooperation by the Brake Pad Partnership, which was made up of representatives from the auto industry, brake pad manufacturers, environmental groups, stormwater regulatory agencies and coastal cities.  The group concluded that copper from brake pads was running off streets into waterways and possibly interfering with aquatic species. 

We know that copper is an important, naturally occurring element in bays, streams and oceans.  But too much of anything can be harmful, and what the CDA is concerned about is when human activity contributes levels of copper beyond what would be healthy in the aquatic environment.  Bob and Joe are ideal representatives for the copper industry at this meeting because of their expertise, research background, and ongoing work in the field of science, specifically biology, environmental sciences, aquatic science and toxicology.

The Essentiality of Copper

Bob Dwyer, Associate Director of Health & Environment Program, International Copper Association

It’s important to understand that copper is not intrinsically harmful to the environment.  In fact, it’s our goal to educate people about the copper in brake pads issue because typically, problems associated with copper in our environment prove that there are greater concerns about copper deficiency.  In fact, Bob Dwyer regularly attends meetings with other environmental experts around the world and is familiar with scientific studies demonstrating that there are massive deficiencies of copper in the feedstock of cattle and other livestock.  In some areas outside the U.S., there’s enough of a copper deficiency in the soil that there is actually a livestock reduction problem.  Additionally, Bob reports that the European Union loses about 14 billion Euros annually on account of reduced crop production because there isn’t enough copper in the soil in many European countries.

 

SETAC/Portland Conference

Both Bob and Joe are ideal representatives for the copper industry at this meeting because they can address these important global and domestic issues and are familiar with credible scientific

studies that substantiate copper deficiency claims and the positive effects of copper in the right dosage on aquatic and other wildlife.

If you will be attending the SETAC/Portland Conference, and have any questions about copper, the CDA or the brake pad issue, I encourage you to speak with Joe Gorsuch or Bob Dwyer.  They are not only experts on many of these issues but they will also be sure you have solid information. 

In addition to Bob Dwyer and Joe Gorsuch, Adam Estelle and Wayne Seale from the Copper Development Association, Michael Hennelly, and Nicole Witoslawski from the International Copper Association will be attending.   

Finally, a word about SETAC.  The organization’s website states that their mission is “to support the development of principles and practices for protection, enhancement and management of sustainable environmental quality and ecosystem integrity.”  This mission resonates with us at the CDA, because we believe strongly in sustainable practices in the many uses of copper.

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