Metals are commonly found in the environment, household, and workplaces in various forms, and a significant segment of the population is routinely exposed to the trace amount of metals from variety of sources. Exposure to metals, such as aluminum, lead, iron, and copper, from environment has long been debated as a potential environmental risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD) for decades, yet results from in vitro, in vivo, and human population remain controversial. In the case of copper, the neurotoxic mechanism of action was classically viewed as its strong affinity to amyloid-beta (Aβ) to help its aggregation and increase oxidative stress via Fenton reaction. Thus, it has been thought that accumulation of copper mediates neurotoxicity, and removing it from the brain prevents or reverse Aβ plaque burden. Recent evidence, however, suggests dyshomeostasis of copper and its valency in the body, instead of the accumulation and interaction with Aβ, are major determinants of its beneficial effects as an essential metal or its neurotoxic counterpart. This notion is also supported by the fact that genetic loss-of-function mutations on copper transporters lead to severe neurological symptoms. Along with its altered distribution, recent studies have also proposed novel mechanisms of copper neurotoxicity mediated by nonneuronal cell lineages in the brain, such as capillary endothelial cells, leading to development of AD neuropathology. This review covers recent findings of multifactorial toxic mechanisms of copper and discusses the risk of environmental exposure as a potential factor in accounting for the variability of AD incidence.