Nitrates can get into our water from farming operations. Nitrates (NO3) are then reduced to Nitrites (NO2). Safe Home has a variety of kits that provide DIY and laboratory drinking water testing for nitrate/nitrite in city water or well water supplies.

Parameter Type: Drinking Water Testing for Volatiles

Parameter Name: Nitrate/Nitrite

What it is and Where it Comes From:

Nitrate is a polyatomic ion with the chemical formula NO3. Salts containing this ion are called nitrates. Nitrates are common components of fertilizers and explosives. Almost all inorganic nitrates are soluble in water. The nitrite ion has the chemical formula NO2. Nitrite (mostly sodium nitrite) is widely used throughout chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Nitrite anion is a pervasive intermediate in the nitrogen cycle in nature. The name nitrite can also refer to organic compounds with the -ONO group, which are esters of nitrous acid. Nitrate in water is undetectable without testing because it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. In-lab drinking water testing is highly recommended for households with infants, pregnant women, nursing mothers, or elderly people. A DIY test kit can be utilized for less critical testing where screening your water for approximate values, is acceptable. Nitrate-nitrogen occurs naturally in groundwater, usually at concentrations far below a level of concern for drinking water safety. An initial test of a new water supply is needed to determine the baseline nitrate concentration. Therefore, if the water supply has never been tested for nitrate, it should be tested. Safe Home offers two platforms of drinking water testing for nitrate/nitrite. The first platform in drinking water testing for nitrate/nitrite is Do-It-Yourself, this allows you to perform testing in the comfort of your own home. The second platform is a Laboratory drinking water testing kits for nitrate/nitrite, allowing you to collect your water sample and ship it directly to our EPA-Certified Laboratory. This platform of drinking water testing for nitrate/nitrite will give you an accurate level based on the lowest level of a parameter our instruments can detect (Method Detection Level).

Health Effects:

Consuming too much nitrate can affect how blood carries oxygen and can cause methemoglobinemia (also known as blue baby syndrome). Bottle-fed babies under six months old are at the highest risk of getting methemoglobinemia. Methemoglobinemia can cause skin to turn a bluish color and can result in serious illness or death. Other symptoms connected to methemoglobinemia include decreased blood pressure, increased heart rate, headaches, stomach cramps, and vomiting. The following conditions may also put people at higher risk of developing nitrate-induced methemoglobinemia: anemia, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, sepsis, glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase deficiency, and other metabolic problems. Only recently has scientific evidence emerged to assess the health impacts of drinking water with high nitrate on adults. A growing body of literature indicates potential associations between nitrate/nitrite exposure and other health effects such as increased heart rate, nausea, headaches, and abdominal cramps. Some studies also suggest an increased risk of cancer, especially gastric cancer, associated with dietary nitrate/nitrite exposure, but there is not yet scientific consensus on this question.

Solutions to Contaminant Levels:

How to prevent contamination in well water. Construct your well in a safe spot, keep nitrate sources away from your well, inspect your well regularly for damage, drinking water testing for nitrate/nitrite should be done every other year. If nitrate is detected in your well water, there may be other contaminants in the water as well. Drinking water with levels of nitrate above 10 mg/L can lead to immediate health problems for infants below the age of six months and people with certain health problems. If nitrate is detected in your water at levels above 10 mg/L, follow these steps. Get your drinking water from a safe alternative source, such as bottled water. This is especially important if there are any babies under six months old drinking the water or formula made with water. Boiled water is not a safe alternative if there is nitrate in your water; boiling water will make nitrate more concentrated, Have a Licensed Well Contractor inspect your well for damage. Find and remove potential sources of nitrate contamination on your property. Protecting Your Well can help you identify sources to check. Reverse Osmosis (RO) Home water treatment system may also be an option. Who do I need to contact to find out more information about water quality in my area? Every community water supplier must provide an annual report to its customers, known as a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). The report provides information on your local drinking water quality, including the water’s source, contaminants found in the water, and how consumers can get involved in protecting drinking water. How often does the local public water system preform drinking water testing? Frequency of drinking water testing depends on the number of people served, the type of water source, and types of contaminants. Certain contaminants are tested more frequently than others, as established by the Safe Drinking Water Act. You can find out about levels of regulated contaminants in your treated water for the previous calendar year in your annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).


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