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copper sulfate monohydrate is a hygroscopic, solid, blue crystalline inorganic compound with the chemical formula CuSO4*5H2O. It is also known as blue stone and blue vitriol. When heated, it turns to the anhydrous form, which is white. When water is added to the anhydrous form, it rehydrates, turning back into the pentahydrate form, which is blue. The pentahydrate is the raw material for preparing other copper(II) sulfate salts and solutions.

The chemical is used as an antifungal, algaecide and root killer in both agricultural and non-agricultural settings. It is also used as a disinfectant, fungicide and antiseptic in animal husbandry. Copper sulfate is also used in paint and to prevent the formation of dry rot in wood. Copper sulfate is very effective in controlling mildew on fruits, vegetables and other crops.

It is toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms, and can be fatal if inhaled. Workers handling this product should wear protective clothing, eyewear and gloves when working with it. Copper sulfate should be stored in a cool, dry area. It should be kept away from alkalis, magnesium and acetylene.

There is no evidence that copper or copper salts cause cancer in humans. However, it is known that some forms of copper can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate copper in its tissues. For this reason, the U.S. EPA has classified this compound as a possible carcinogen for oral exposure. See the text boxes on Toxicity Classification and Carcinogenicity for additional information.