What are nitrates?
Nitrates are naturally occuring forms of nitrogen found in soil. This nitrate can become a health risk to humans and animals if it leaks into drinking water and is ingested in a concentration of more than 10 ppm.
Why are nitrates a health risk to humans?
According to Colorado State University Extension (http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/crops/00517.html), stomach bacteria convert NO3, nitrate, to NO2, nitrite, which is absorbed into blood, which causes hemoglobin, the part of blood that carries oxygen, is converted to methemoglobin, which does not carry oxygen effectively. This results in a reduced oxygen supply to the brain and other vital tissues.
What are some other effects of nitrate?
Nitrate is the main cause of the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, which is a large region of water that is very low in oxygen, and therefore cant support life such as valuble fish, which is a large portion of the areas income.
In addition, many cities spend tens of hundreds of dollars just to reduce the level of nitrate to a safe level.
Where does nitrate come from?
The main source of nitrate is runoff from farms, expecially those using excessive fertilizer or animal feces, or those using tile drainage systems. Other sources include fireworks, septic tanks, cemeteries, and pet waste.
What can I do to help?
You can help in many ways. You can sign our petition at http://goo.gl/Dixuy3. You can also ask your farmer friends to only use the amount of fertilizer needed, remove tiling and creating buffer zones between the river and the farm. You can reduce usage of fireworks, reduce usage of water if using a septic tank, put caskets in a concrete "vault", and clean up pet waste.