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The Danger of Nitrates

We all desire clean drinking water. Water we can trust. However, this world is full of pollutants constantly putting our drinking water at risk. One of these potentially dangerous elements is nitrate.

What are Nitrates?

A nitrate is a chemical compound consisting of one nitrogen atom and three oxygen atoms. This compound will often form over time in ground water through agricultural sources such as run off, fertilizer, and manure. It can also be produced from septic systems or waste.

Are They Harmful?

At low levels, nitrates are safe to consume. It isn’t uncommon for drinking water to contain a small number of nitrates. However, when there’s a higher concentration of nitrates in your drinking water, it may harm your family.


This mouthful of a word is the name designated to a disease associated with high-levels of nitrates. Essentially, when an abundance of nitrates enters your blood stream it will transform hemoglobin into methemoglobin. Carrying oxygen, hemoglobin enables your blood to deliver vitality to your body. Methemoglobin, on the other hand, is incapable of transporting oxygen. If your methemoglobin levels rise, your oxygen levels will deplete.

Symptoms & Dangers of Methemoglobinemia

At low levels, methemoglobin can abide in your blood stream unnoticed. Once methemoglobin makes up over ten percent of your blood, that is when symptoms will arise. Coined the “blue baby” disease, methemoglobinemia is notorious for its skin decolorization. Finger tips and toes, particularly susceptible to cyanosis, will turn blue due to oxygen lost. It may also induce digestive or respiratory troubles. Breaching thirty percent, methemoglobin will produce effects related to anoxia. If left untreated, the body will, in laymen terms, choke. When dominating the blood stream, methemoglobin at fifty percent or more will prompt brain damage and eventually death. Children and expecting mothers are at a higher risk for methemoglobinemia and its deadly effects.

Protecting Your Drinking Water

The best way to assure your drinking water does not have high levels of nitrates is to first get it tested. If nitrates are found, then there are drinking water systems designed to reduce nitrates to safe levels. One of the most effective methods is reverse osmosis. It is not only effective, but efficient, saving you both worry and money.

Martin Water Conditioning

Martin Water Conditioning offers a free water test and a variety of affordable Kinetico reverse osmosis systems. We would be happy to serve you in any way!