Nitrate and nitrite in drinking water can endanger health
As a tenant or homeowner and parent with children, the news about nitrate and nitrite in drinking water is probably already obvious. The drinking water pollution of nitrates and nitrites is not absent in the Swiss area either, and so the question arises for many as to what steps should best be taken against it. This guidebook reveals the most important information and deals openly with the topic.
Nitrate and nitrite in drinking water
Drinking water quality in Switzerland stands out clearly from some other countries and consistently records clean water and the best water quality. However, measurements show that drinking water in Switzerland can also contain nitrates and nitrites that are classified as a health concern. The analysis of the water confirmed that in the case of larger quantities, an increased risk can certainly be assumed and should not be taken lightly. Agriculture, liquid manure and other substances ensure that the water does not end up in drinking glasses in perfect purity, which can become problematic in the long term.
According to the latest studies, nitrate and nitrite in drinking water are spreading more and more and cannot be stopped easily. Large-scale agriculture is one of the main reasons why such water deterioration is to be expected. Drinking water quality in Switzerland meets the highest standards and enjoys an excellent reputation. But even there, foreign substances are found in numerous water samples. In any case, a suitable solution must be found for this in the long term.
How alarming are nitrate and nitrite in drinking water?
The quality of tap water and groundwater is usually monitored by official institutions. If the limits of nitrate and nitrite are exceeded, the authorities are obliged to take countermeasures and inform the public. According to their own information, Switzerland's local water suppliers are implementing programmes to reduce nitrate pollution, but so far without much success.
Information on local groundwater quality can also be obtained online. National groundwater quality data are made available online by the competent authorities in Switzerland. In principle, small amounts of nitrate in drinking water below the threshold of 50 milligrams per litre are not harmful. Most of our daily nitrate and nitrite intake comes from food.
Attention with babies!
Infants are an important exception. Here, the limit value of drinking water contamination of nitrate and nitrite may be a maximum of 10 milligrams per litre and in any case may not be exceeded. The local waterworks provide direct information on this and usually point out water in packaged bottles. Here you can find more information on the topic.
Nitrate and nitrite responsible for oxygen deficiency
Especially if there are children or a pregnancy, this is a risk. The baby has elevated methaemoglobin in the blood before it is 3 months old. Nitrite converts red haemoglobin into methaemoglobin. This methaemoglobin can no longer transport oxygen into the tissues. This leads to a lack of oxygen to vital organs such as the central nervous system and the heart, which can be fatal depending on the severity. In adults, this risk does not exist because the binding of oxygen to red blood cells is such that the nitrate and nitrite cannot be broken down.
Nitrate and nitrite can be carcinogenic
Another risk is that the substances can combine with amines to form nitrosamines in the stomach. Some nitrosamines are suspected of being carcinogenic. However, a final decision on this has not yet been made, only initial assumptions are being made.
Water analyses can help
Water analyses can help to detect pollutants in the water. With a test kit, an analysis can be carried out on the risk parameters and the actual state can be determined. High-quality laboratory analyses help to evaluate the test correctly and also to check for impurities. No prior knowledge is needed for such an undertaking and the test can be carried out as follows.
This is how the analysis is carried out
The desired analysis is ordered and a test kit is sent to collect the sample. By means of a recording sheet, this can be easily taken and posted from anywhere. The sample is then stored in the test kit and sent back to the laboratory. In the last step, the laboratory analyses the sample and measures all values that are essential for the result. In total, the process takes about three weeks to obtain a meaningful result. Click here for more information on the process.
Impact on the environment
Agriculture and the resulting slurry are the main culprits for high nitrate and nitrite levels in the water. The manure seeps into the soil and thus gets into the drinking water, where it becomes polluted and the two substances are deposited. If you want to protect yourself and your children, it is best to go the water analysis route and take a sample. Test directly now.