Des Moines, Iowa – A nationwide study shows Iowans are at an increased risk of health effects from nitrate exposure. Researchers form the Environmental Working Group and Duke University estimate as many as 12,000 cancer cases each year nationwide may be linked to nitrates in drinking water.
Alexis Temkin is one of the authors of the paper, published in the journal Environmental Research.
The current federal limit on nitrates in drinking water is ten parts-per-million, but recent studies suggest the risk of certain cancers and birth defects increases even at lower levels.
Temkin says she and her co-authors tallied the potential cases.
Temkin says agricultural states like Iowa and California are at a greater risk, due to the use of nitrate-rich fertilizer and manure.