do nitrates affect human health?
Nitrate concentrations are monitored in municipal
water supplies and foods to prevent exposing people to the potential
harmful effects of high levels of nitrates. Nitrates
are highly soluble, meaning that they easily dissolve in water.
For many people in rural areas, the primary source
of drinking water is well water, which may be contaminated with
nitrates. Nitrates are colorless and odorless, so
their presence cannot be determined without the use of special testing
Nitrates can interfere with the ability of our red
blood cells to carry oxygen. Infants are more at risk of nitrate
poisoning than older children or adults. Babies can turn "blue"
when there is not enough oxygen being transported by their blood.
This "blue baby syndrome" (technically known as methemoglobinemia) is a serious condition that can cause brain damage or death.
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