What You Need To Know About Nitrates In Your Water
- 15 Feb, 2022
Nitrogen can be found in a variety of forms in the environment. Nitrogen makes up 70% of the earth's atmosphere. Nitrogen changes form and becomes a compound when it interacts with another element in the environment. Nitrates (NO3) and nitrites (NO2) are two types of nitrogen molecules found in nature (NO2). Nitrates and nitrites are nitrogen and oxygen-based molecules that react with a variety of organic (or generated from living organisms) and inorganic components. Here is what you need to know about nitrates in your water.
How Are People Exposed To Nitrate?
People are largely exposed to nitrate through their diet because it is a naturally occurring chemical found in both water and plants. The average person in the United States consumes 75 to 100 milligrams (mg) of nitrate per day. Vegetables account for about 80 to 90 percent of this total. Beets, celery, lettuce, and spinach are examples of vegetables that contain high levels of nitrates. Some vegans consume up to 250 mg of nitrate each day. People ingest between 5 to 10% of their nitrates from their drinking water.
What Are the Health Effects of Nitrates?
When microorganisms in our digestive system convert nitrate to nitrite, it becomes poisonous. The nitrite oxidizes the iron in our red blood cells' hemoglobin to generate methemoglobin. People naturally have low levels of methemoglobin, with typical values ranging from 0.5 to 2.0%. A person can have methemoglobin levels of around 10% without showing any symptoms of disease because the blood has extra capacity to carry oxygen. A person's skin and lips may turn bluish if methemoglobin levels grow above 10%. When blood sugar levels rise above 25%, it might cause weakness, a racing heart, and rapid breathing. A concentration of more than 50 to 60% percent can be fatal.
How Are Nitrates Detected In Drinking Water?
The nitrate/nitrite regulation went into force in 1992. Between 1993 and 1995, the EPA mandated that water suppliers collect and analyze water samples at least once a year to see if nitrates and nitrites are present in excess of their MCLs. If nitrates and nitrites are detected at levels higher than this, the system must continue to monitor the contaminant every three months. If pollutant levels are routinely above the MCLs, water providers must take actions to reduce the amount of nitrates and nitrites in the water to get them below that threshold. The suppliers must also inform the general public about the situation through newspapers, radio, television, and other media.
We hope our article on what you need to know about nitrates in your water has helped you see where you need to improve your water filtration systems! If you are considering installing an under counter filter system to combat nitrates, be sure to stop by Premier H2O! We have a wide variety of filters to select from to satisfy your needs.