• Open Access

Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for copper


  • EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA)

  • Panel members: Jean Louis Bresson, Barbara Burlingame, Tara Dean, Susan Fairweather-Tait, Marina Heinonen, Karen Ildico Hirsch-Ernst, Inge Mangelsdorf, Harry McArdle, Androniki Naska, Monika Neuhäuser-Berthold, Grażyna Nowicka, Kristina Pentieva, Yolanda Sanz, Alfonso Siani, Anders Sjödin, Martin Stern, Daniel Tomé, Dominique Turck, Hendrik Van Loveren, Marco Vinceti and Peter Willatts.
  • Correspondence: nda@efsa.europa.eu
  • Acknowledgement: The Panel wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on Dietary Reference Values for Minerals: Peter Aggett, Carlo Agostoni, Susan Fairweather-Tait, Marianne Geleijnse, Ambroise Martin, Harry McArdle, Androniki Naska, Hildegard Przyrembel and Alfonso Siani for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion and EFSA staff: Anja Brönstrup, José Ángel Gómez Ruiz and Fanny Héraud for the support provided to this scientific opinion.
  • Adoption date: 23 September 2015
  • Published date: 21 October 2015
  • Question number: EFSA-Q-2011-01210
  • On request from: European Commission


Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) derived Dietary Reference Values (DRVs) for copper. Owing to the absence of appropriate biomarkers of copper status and the limitations of available balance studies, the Panel was unable to derive Average Requirements (ARs) and Population Reference Intakes (PRIs). Hence, Adequate Intakes (AIs) were defined based on mean observed intakes in several European Union (EU) countries, given that there is no evidence of overt copper deficiency in the European population. Data from balance studies were used as supportive evidence. For adults, AIs of 1.6 mg/day for men and 1.3 mg/day for women are proposed. For children, AIs are 0.7 mg/day for children aged 1 to < 3 years, 1 mg/day for children aged 3 to < 10 years, and 1.3 and 1.1 mg/day for boys and girls aged 10 to < 18 years, respectively. For infants aged 7–11 months, based on mean observed intakes in four EU countries, an AI of 0.4 mg/day is proposed, which is supported by upwards extrapolation of estimated copper intake in exclusively breast-fed infants. For pregnant women, an increment of 0.2 mg/day is estimated to cover the amount of copper deposited in the fetus and the placenta over the course of pregnancy and in anticipation of the needs for lactation, and for lactating women the same increment is estimated to cover the amount of copper secreted with breast milk. Thus, for pregnant and lactating women, the Panel derived an AI of 1.5 mg/day.