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Environmental Testing Services

Category Press Release
Publish Date 12/5/2022
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Occupational and Environmental Exposure Risks to Barium and Barium Compounds in California
Introduction LA Testing provides industrial hygiene and environmental laboratory testing services and sampling supplies to identify and mitigate a wide range of potential exposure hazards.

Huntington Beach, California, December 5, 2022 

The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) describes barium as a silvery-white metal which exists in nature only in ores containing mixtures of elements. It combines with other chemicals, such as sulfur or carbon and oxygen, to form barium compounds.

Barium has the potential to contaminate drinking water supplies and minerals containing it can be found naturally in California. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 2 parts per million (ppm) for barium in drinking water.

Barium compounds are used by the oil and gas industries to make drilling muds. They are also used by industry to make paint, bricks, ceramics, glass and rubber.

Potential routes of human exposure listed by ATSDR include:

  • Inhalation – Generally limited to occupational exposure
  • Oral – Primary route of exposure for the general population (some foods, such as Brazil nuts, seaweed, fish and certain plants, may contain high amounts of barium).
  • Dermal – Minor route of exposure 

Ways people could be exposed to barium include:

  • Ingesting small amounts present in food and water or breathing air containing very low levels of barium
  • Living in areas with unusually high natural levels of barium in the drinking water
  • Working in a job that involves barium production or use
  • Living or working near waste sites where barium has been disposed of 

“To protect workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) for barium compounds and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has set Recommended Exposure Limits (RELs),” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “At LA Testing, our industrial hygiene and environmental laboratories provide testing services and sampling supplies to identify and mitigate exposure risks to barium, barium compounds and many other substances. These services safeguard workers, the public and help to keep companies in regulatory compliance throughout California.”

LA Testing has also sponsored an educational video about barium and potential exposure risks that can be seen at: 

To learn more about barium or other environmental, health and safety testing services, please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794. 

About LA Testing

LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for environmental, industrial hygiene and indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro and San Diego.

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