Nitrogen's Impact on Public Health

grist the end is nitrate photo
Image credit: Grist

Imagine a hot summer day in a town surrounded by glistening pools of water. Now imagine that no one is swimming—that they can't because the water has been contaminated with a potentially dangerous, yet common, pollutant. For many, this terrible thought is a reality and the culprit is nitrate.Grist writes:

Nitrate—a compound of nitrogen and oxygen—is the most common chemical contaminant in groundwater. That isn't surprising when you consider its many sources: sewage overflows, fertilizer runoff, animal waste, and decaying organic material in soil. Nitrate is also found in foods, notably processed, preserved meats like bacon and naturally in green, leafy vegetables like spinach and celery. The list of health afflictions possibly linked to nitrate overexposure includes infant death, miscarriage, birth defects, diabetes, thyroid disease, and cancer.

Read more at Grist.org
Read more about nitrogen:
Grist Sheds Light on the Dark Side of Nitrogen
Kedrosky on the Nitrogen Fertilizer Perfect Storm
Desert Soils Losing Nitrogen & Fertility Thanks to Global Warming

Tags: Agriculture | Pollution

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