What Is It?
Barium is a lustrous, machinable metal which exists in nature only in ores containing mixtures of elements. It is used in making a wide variety of electronic components, in metal alloys, bleaches, dyes, fireworks, ceramics and glass. In particular, it is used in well drilling operations where it is directly released into the ground.
Is It Harmful?
The EPA reports that some people who ingest barium in amounts over the Max. Contaminant Level for many years may experience increased blood pressure.
What is the Maximum Contaminant Level?
The EPA has not set an MCL for barium, but an MCLG – a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal. This is a non-enforceable guideline of sorts for determining safe levels of a contaminant. Barium’s MCLG is 2 mg/L (or PPM).