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Problem: Nitrate Toxicity

Once ingested into the human body, nitrates can be converted into compounds called nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens. In addition, nitrates can be chemically reduced in the bodies of human infants to nitrites, which reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of hemoglobin. Nitrate concentrations in drinking water in the United States are limited to 10 parts per million primarily to prevent infant blood problems (Schrama, 1998). While municipal drinking water treatment plants chemically remove nitrate, rural drinking water wells near agricultural operations are likely to have elevated nitrate levels (USGS, 2001b; O'Toole, 1998).



Andy Wingo 2001-12-10