September 25th, 2008
By John DeFore
Nitrates, substances which when consumed by humans can be toxic, especially for infants (whose blood can be made less able to carry enough oxygen), are commonly used in fertilizers. While efforts have been made in recent years to reduce fertilizer use, it’s hard to know — since it takes time for substances to migrate from topsoil into aquifers — how quickly changes to agricultural practices affect water supplies.
Now a study published in the Journal of Environmental Quality finds that nitrate levels in ground water are on the rise in many parts of the U.S., leading researchers to call for increased monitoring.