May 20, 2016

Report Links Nitrate in Drinking Water to Birth Defects

High levels of arsenic, atrazine and nitrate may lead to cleft lips and palates or limb deficiencies

farm, nitrate, birth defect, study, cleft lip, cleft palate, limb deficiency

High levels of nitrates, atrazine and arsenic in drinking water are linked in a new U.S. study to birth defects such as cleft palate, cleft lip and limb deficiencies.

“Both nitrate and atrazine are agricultural compounds that can leech through the soil into drinking water sources, which the report indicates may be putting embryos at risk,” says Bengt Rittri, founder and executive director of Bluewater, a Swedish company supplying advanced residential water purifying solutions in North America, China and Europe.

Rittri said the study recently published in the journal Current Environmental Health Reports highlights how no-one can take the quality of their tap water for granted, especially in the wake of the Flint, Michigan, crisis.

Professor Jean Brender at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health wrote the report. She specialized in studying the effects chemicals in water can have on developing fetuses. Using her own research and looking at some other similar studies, she identified three contaminants—nitrates, atrazine and arsenic—in drinking water that may be associated with birth defects, especially among women who primarily drink water from a private well in rural areas.

“Water doesn’t need to smell bad to be potentially hazardous. We all need to be alert to the fact that regardless of whether we drink from a private well or public water supply, there is always a risk of drinking water contamination, as Dr. Brender’s report spotlights,” Rittri said.