Nitrates and Nitrites in Food and WaterAuthor:
Publisher: CRC Press
Publish date: January 1996
* Detailed examination of nitrates and nitrites in food, water and the environment * Health hazards of human exposure * Puts problems into perspective-and offers advice on how to respond * Impact of international legislation From the Introduction With regard to nitrate and nitrite, the perceived hazards are to the ecological balance in rivers and lakes, and to human health. Increased nitrate levels in river water lead to increased growth of algae and consequent decrease in the level of biologically available oxygen (BAO). In extreme forms, the algae form unsightly blooms on the water surface, and the BAO level falls below that necessary to support fish and other animal life. At this extreme, there is little dispute that efforts should be made to restore the ecological balance, and this is best achieved by reversing the increase in nitrate concentration that caused the problem. The health hazards are less clear, but include the risk of methaemoglobinaemia in young infants and the possible risk of gastric cancer, particularly in certain high-risk patient groups. These health risks have led to legislation to control the exposure of humans to nitrate from drinking water and as a food additive . . . What can be done about this and how can the problem be solved (if, indeed, there is a problem)? It is normal practice to add nitrate and nitrite to food as a cosmetic and as a preservative. Is this necessary? If so, how much do we need to add? Are there alternatives? What effect does added nitrate have on total nitrate exposure of humans? . . . In this book, we have attempted to answer, or at least to give the background to, some of the questions. . . .