Most drinking water in the United States is safe and meets federal standards. However, even some treated tap water may contain low levels of contaminants, including nitrates.
Nitrates are chemical compounds that can be found in both natural and man-made materials. They are commonly used in fertilizers and explosives and can also be found in some drinking water.
Exposure to high levels of nitrates can be dangerous, particularly for infants and pregnant women. Nitrates can cause a condition known as “blue baby syndrome,” which can be fatal.
While the levels of nitrates in drinking water are usually low, they can sometimes increase, particularly after heavy rains. Well, water is more likely to be affected by nitrates than water from a public system.
If you are concerned about nitrates in your drinking water, you can have it tested. You can also take steps to reduce your exposure, such as using an alternative water source for cooking and drinking and avoiding giving tap water to infants.
Health Effects of Nitrate in Drinking Water
Many communities get their water from underground wells. In some areas, water from these wells contains high levels of nitrates. When water with high nitrate levels is used for cooking or drinking, it can cause serious health problems in infants, young children, and pregnant women.
When water with high nitrate levels is used for cooking or drinking, it can cause serious health problems in infants, young children, and pregnant women. These health problems are caused by a compound called nitrite. Nitrite can interfere with the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. This can cause a condition called methemoglobinemia, which can be fatal.
Pregnant women who drink water with high nitrate levels can also have problems. Nitrates can cross the placenta and enter the bloodstream of the developing fetus. This can cause a condition called blue baby syndrome, which can be fatal.
Because of the serious health risks associated with nitrates in drinking water, it is important to have your water tested regularly. If your water contains high levels of nitrates, you should find an alternative source of water for drinking and cooking.
Different Ways To Remove Nitrate From Drinking Water
There are many ways to remove nitrate from drinking water, but reverse osmosis is the most common and effective method. This process forces water through a semipermeable membrane, which blocks the passage of nitrate molecules and allows only clean water to pass through.
Other methods of nitrate removal include ion exchange, which exchanges nitrate ions for other ions in the water, and activated carbon filtration, which absorbs nitrate molecules from the water.
Nitrate levels in drinking water can be high for a variety of reasons, but the most common source is agricultural runoff. This can happen when nitrate-containing fertilizers and manure are applied to fields, and the rain washes the nitrates into nearby lakes and streams.
High nitrate levels in drinking water can be a serious health concern, especially for infants and young children. Nitrates can cause methemoglobinemia, which reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. This can lead to serious health problems, including death.
If you are concerned about nitrate levels in your drinking water, contact your local water utility or health department to have your water tested. If nitrates are found, they can be removed with the proper treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Nitrate?
Nitrate is a compound made up of nitrogen and oxygen. It is found in soil, water, and air. Nitrate is absorbed by plants and used to make protein. It is also a major source of nutrition for animals.
What are the health effects of nitrate in drinking water?
Nitrate in drinking water can be harmful to your health. It can cause methemoglobinemia, which is a blood disorder that can be fatal. Nitrate can also cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
How can I remove nitrate from my drinking water?
There are a few ways to remove nitrate from your drinking water. You can use a water filter that is designed to remove nitrate. You can also let your water sit for a few days to allow the nitrate to dissipate.
What are the EPA’s standards for nitrate in drinking water?
The EPA’s maximum contaminant level goal for nitrate in drinking water is 10mg/L.
What should I do if I think my drinking water contains nitrate?
If you think your drinking water contains nitrate, you should contact your local water utility. They will be able to test your water to see if it contains nitrate and tell you what you can do to remove it.
Where does nitrate in drinking water come from?
The source of nitrate in drinking water can be from natural sources, such as decomposing organic matter, or from human activities, such as agricultural and urban runoff, sewage, and septic tanks.
How can I reduce my exposure to nitrate in drinking water?
Some simple things that you can do to reduce your exposure to nitrate in drinking water include:
- If you have your own well, have it tested regularly for nitrate.
- Use water from an alternative source for drinking and cooking if your water contains high levels of nitrate.
- Boil your water for at least 1 minute if you are using water from a private well, and it has not been tested recently for nitrate.
You can also help to keep nitrate out of drinking water by:
- Keeping your septic tank and leach field well maintained.
- Reducing or eliminating the use of fertilizers on your lawn and garden.
- Keeping livestock away from wells and surface water sources.
Where can I get more information about nitrate in drinking water?
If you are concerned about nitrate in your drinking water, you can have your water tested by a certified laboratory. You can also contact your local water utility or your state or local health department for more information.
Nitrate in drinking water can be harmful to your health. It is important to remove nitrate from your drinking water to avoid any health risks. There are a few ways to remove nitrate from your drinking water, and the EPA has set standards for nitrate levels in drinking water. If you think your drinking water contains nitrate, you should contact your local water utility.