What are Nitrates?
Nitrate and nitrite are soluble compounds containing nitrogen and
oxygen. Nitrate (NO3-) is more
stable than nitrite (NO2-). This means nitrite
easily changes into nitrate in groundwater and the results of a
nitrate plus nitrite test are almost always predominantly nitrate.
Nitrate is essential for plant growth and is present in all
Nitrate (NO3) comes into water
supplies through the nitrogen cycle rather than via dissolved
minerals. It is one of the major ions in natural waters. Most
nitrate that occurs in drinking water is the result of contamination
of ground water supplies by septic systems, feed lots, and
agricultural fertilizers. Nitrate is reduced to nitrite in the body.
The US EPA's MCL for nitrate is 10 mg/l.
Nitrates Harmful in Drinking Water?
Although high nitrate levels have been
implicated in central nervous disorders and hypertension in adults,
nitrate has been highly regulated primarily to prevent
methemoglobinemia, a sometimes fatal blood condition in infants also
known as "blue baby syndrome". This condition reduces the blood's oxygen
carrying ability in infants and fetuses. High levels of nitrate have
also been linked to miscarriages in humans and livestock, including
Commercial Nitrate Water Filter Systems: