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Concerns Escalate Over Leaching of Selenium from the San Joaquin Valley


California’s LA Testing provides selenium testing solutions for agribusiness, municipalities and environmental agencies.

Los Alamitos, CA

Selenium is a naturally occurring mineral that was discovered in 1817. Since then its manufacture and use by man has increased dramatically. Selenium is a chemical element represented by the symbol Se. Selenium salts in trace amounts are necessary for cellular function in most animals; however it is toxic in large amounts.

The use of selenium in glass and ceramic manufacturing is widespread and it was once commonly used in the manufacturing of electronics. Selenium can also be found in concentrated levels in some soils and it has been causing problems in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The west side of the valley has soils with high concentrations and is heavily irrigated for growing crops. The mineral leaches from the fields into groundwater and surface waters and makes its way into the San Joaquin River and eventually to San Francisco Bay.

Just last month a group of 18 organizations opposed a plan by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board to grant more pollution waivers for agribusiness in the area. According to some reports wastewaters from the San Luis Drain are currently 10 times the level considered safe.

Exceeding the Tolerable Upper Intake Level for selenium of 400 micrograms per day can lead to selenosis. Selenosis can cause stomach disorders, fatigue and neurological damage. Cirrhosis of the liver, pulmonary edema and death can result from extreme cases.

Ben Sublasky, the National Director of Client Services for LA Testing and EMSL Analytical who provide environmental testing services, reported, “The selenium situation in the San Joaquin Valley highlights the environmental concerns that can result from irrigation in selenium rich geological areas. LA Testing has the expertise and analytical resources to help test for selenium to ensure public safety and to help protect the environment.”

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

About LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, Inc.
LA Testing and EMSL Analytical are providers of environmental testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


 San Joaquin Selenium
 Concern escalate leaching
 natural occuring mineral
 regional water quality
 San Francisco Bay

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