KUOW - Study: Millions Of Americans Could Be Drinking Water High In Nitrates

January 23, 2019

By Courtney Flatt

Excerpt: "More people than expected are drinking water that could be harmful to their health. That’s according to a new study that looked at a water contaminate that’s been an issue in one of the Northwest's most productive farming regions.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, found more than 5.6 million Americans may be drinking water that’s contaminated with nitrates. The study found Latino residents are disproportionately drinking water that’s often more contaminated than other areas.

At high levels, nitrates can be harmful to infants, causing what’s known as “blue baby syndrome.” Lower exposure levels to nitrates can contribute to other health problems, like birth defects and some cancers, said Laurel Schaider, the study’s lead author and an environmental chemist at Silent Spring Institute.

That’s why researchers decided to look at nearly 40,000 community water systems across the country.

“I think that merits further investigation into whether the drinking water standard is adequately protecting everyone,” Schaider said."

Public Drinking Water SuppliesEnvironmental Justice