Environmental Health Criteria No 107
World Health Organization
ISBN-13    9789241571074 ISBN-10    9241571071
Order Number    11600107   
Price    CHF    28.00 / US$    33.60 Developing countries:    CHF    28.00
English     1990        148   pages
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Evaluates the risks to human health and the environment posed by the mining, processing, and industrial use of barium. The opening sections review both natural and man-made sources of release into the environment, including nuclear fallout following the testing of weapons. A section on environmental behaviour notes the contribution of industrial emissions, especially from the combustion of coal and diesel oil, to the presence of barium in air. Particular concern centres on concentrations found in water, where barium may have a residence time of several hundred years. Water supplies and food are identified as the most important routes of exposure for the general population.
Other sections review what is known about the kinetics and metabolism of barium, discuss its capacity to mimic the role of calcium in many physiological processes, and consider effects on organisms in the environment, including effects on the infectivity of several viruses.
The most extensive section evaluates experimental studies of barium toxicity, with particular attention given to reported effects on cardiovascular functions. The final section, devoted to effects on human health, evaluates findings from large-scale outbreaks of barium poisoning and from epidemiological studies designed to determine whether high barium concentrations in drinking-water are linked to disturbances in cardiovascular function. On the basis of these evaluations, the book concludes that barium poses no special risk for the general population. Potassium-deficient individuals, the elderly, exposed workers, and populations consuming high concentrations of barium in drinking water may experience adverse effects on health.
"... most impressive..."
- Annals of Occupational Hygiene