Impacts of Nitrate Toxicity in Drinking Water
How Nitrate in Drinking Water Affects Cancer
Nitrate in drinking water can have long-term effects on the body. Nitrate is a chemical compound that is formed by the combination of naturally available nitrogen with oxygen and ozone.
Excess Nitrate in Drinking Water Can Cause Which Disease
Consumption of nitrates on the human body can result in several diseases such as anemia, heart disease, lung disease, sepsis and many metabolic problems. It can also increase the risk of cancer.
Link Between Nitrate and Cancer
The Environmental Working Group (Washington, D.C.) states that different levels of nitrates in drinking water can cause or increase the risk of 5 types of cancer. It was stated that colorectal cancer accounted for 80% of the cases. This was due to nitrate exposure. Ovarian, thyroid, kidney and bladder cancers occurred in smaller numbers.
When nitrates enter the human body through drinking water, nitrate and nitrite can react with the amines and amides in the body to form N-nitroso compounds. This may cause cancer. Through fertilizers and drinking water, nitrate enters our food group. Therefore, the consumption of several foods can also contribute to the risk of cancer.
Nitrate in Groundwater
It is important to note that nitrate is naturally a part of groundwater and is not harmful unless it exceeds the standard limit. Few causes of nitrate toxicity in well water can be due to many reasons such as improper construction, location of well where there is an excess of nitrates, overuse of chemical fertilizers which mix with water and make it toxic, improperly built sewerage systems and improper disposal of animal, industrial or food processing waste. Almost all inorganic nitrates are soluble in water.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the standard for nitrate in 1-liter mg/L of drinking water is 10 milligrams of nitrate, which is measured as nitrogen. Drinking water below 10 mg/L nitrates is considered safe for consumption.
Water Purifying Treatment
The first thing to do to avoid nitrate toxicity is to find out the source of nitrate toxicity in drinking water. If there is nitrogen toxicity, you can treat it with a home water distiller, a reverse osmosis filter or an ion exchange filter to remove excess nitrates in the groundwater.
Nitrates cannot be removed by heating or boiling water because some of the water evaporates during the boiling process. Instead of decreasing the nitrate levels of water, it will result in an increase in the concentration of nitrates. Nitrate cannot be removed from water through mechanical filters or chemical disinfection processes like chlorination.
It is recommended to construct your well in a safe area away from sources of nitrate toxicity such as fertilizers, septic systems and animal waste. If there is damage or leakage, contact a licensed well contractor. Test the nitrate levels every other year. Always get your water tested through an accredited laboratory.
As high nitrate levels can make drinking water toxic, it can cause serious illnesses such as cancer. To make your drinking water safe, it is recommended to get your well monitored and treated through reliable specialists.
If you need more information please feel free to reach out to All American Environmental. We are soil and groundwater specialists.