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Cooper cups

Officials believe copper cups are causing an increased number of copper poisoning cases.

HARRISBURG – Vodka, ginger beer and lime, thrown in a copper mug, make a Moscow mule.

Iowa is now banning the popular cup these beverages come in due to health concerns.

Studies show the cocktail and the cups may be able to cause copper poisoning.

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division recently adopted the FDA code prohibiting copper from coming into direct contact with foods that have a pH below 6.0.

Lime has a pH level of 5.5.

“Copper was always said to be a possibility for health concerns. Some would leach into your product. I think it’s the acidic acid that has something to do with it,” said Gary Tyber, a bartender at the Sturges Speakeasy in Harrisburg.

The state Department of Health says excessive ingestion of copper, from mugs, plates or silverware, can cause nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

“Some people say (the copper) enhances the flavor, some people say it makes the drink that much colder,” Tyber said.

According to state Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported multiple outbreaks of copper poisoning from contaminated beverages. Pennsylvania has no plans to ban copper cups unless the FDA and CDC order it.

The Health Department also says most copper mugs are lined with tin or stainless steel, making them safe to serve and eat or drink from.