Malachite is a common mineral that is easily identifiable by its gorgeous banded and varied shades of greens.
It might be a little intimidating to shop around for malachite when everywhere you turn there are warnings about the dreadful probability of malachite becoming dangerously toxic if it were to get wet.
The most referenced reason behind malachite’s toxicity, is the allegedly dangerous "copper content".
For the sake of thoroughness we will mention some of the claims found on the internet and will provide the facts below each claim.
Claim: “Even polished Malachite still has that high amount of copper which is lethal if ingested and you don’t have to eat or drink it to ingest it. Your skin is your largest organ and often eats whatever you put on it (or put it in).”
Fact: The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a report stating: “Copper delivery through skin can provide beneficial effects... Data on dermal toxicity caused by copper compounds is scant. Some recognized in vitro skin toxicity methods are unsuitable for all metal compounds.”
Claim: Malachite contains arsenic
Fact: Malachite’s chemical composition is Cu₂CO₃(OH)₂ therefore this is an easy myth bust, it contains no arsenic.
Claim: Malachite releases toxic fumes when it gets moist, so the bathroom is the worst place to have it.
Fact: Malachite is a hydrated carbonate of copper formed by the evaporation of water as it passes through copper bearing deposits. When exposed to acidic conditions, humidity, or water, the malachite will react. Being a hydrated carbonate of copper, when acidic water is applied it may off gas carbon dioxide or oxygen. It does NOT off gas anything that is toxic.
In conclusion, the average malachite enthusiast is not going to be poisoned via their skin, blood, or by fumes in the air because of malachite getting wet.
Does malachite react to water? The short answer is yes, but not at a rapid rate and certainly it is chemistry would not change so instantly that it was dangerously toxic.
It is important to note that malachite should never be used as a gem elixir or gem infused essential oil. When doing lapidary work with malachite, protective equipment covering the eyes, nose, and mouth should always be worn to prevent ingesting or inhaling airborne particles.
Need more crystals in your life?
We have malachite jewelry and malachite pieces available online.
Check out: https://www.magiccrystals.com/collections/malachite-crystal