Copper is a naturally occurring metal, which is found in rocks, soil, water, and air. Small amounts of copper are necessary for healthy plants and animals, but too much copper can be toxic. In the environment, copper becomes strongly attached to the organic components of the soil and is not likely to move very far in soils. Dissolved copper compounds can also bind to organic particles suspended in the water and settle out in the sediments of ponds, lakes, and rivers. Copper compounds are commonly used to control algae in water, to treat plant diseases, and to preserve wood, leather, and fabrics.
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