Facts about nitrate and dairies

  • December 10, 2019

SFF Nitrate Facts 2019
What is nitrate and how does it get into drinking water?

Why has the EPA set a strict limit for the amount of nitrate in drinking water?

Are dairy farms the only or primary cause of nitrate in drinking water?

What is the truth about the health risks of nitrate in our water?

You may have seen media reports, notices about public meetings, or heard about the concerns about dairy farms and nitrate levels in drinking water. A few aggressive activists working with an Oregon lawyer for years have been making claims about nitrate, health risks and the sources of nitrate in water. But what are the facts?

Here is a non-technical explanation. You will learn:

  • nitrate levels in Yakima area wells are consistent with or lower than similar farming areas across the state and nation
  • nitrate comes from a variety of sources including nature, human waste from septic systems, and commercial and organic fertilizer
  • nitrate in groundwater in farming areas has typically been there for several generations as a major cause was over application of fertilizer and irrigation water in the years following World War II
  • nitrate levels are stable and it takes many years of improvement to reduce the level in the aquifer or groundwater
  • dairy farms can contribute and indeed have contributed, but they are most certainly not the only cause
  • the EPA limit of 10 parts per million was based on a 1940s study that linked nitrate in water used for infant formula to an infant disease known as blue baby syndrome
  • since then, numerous studies have shown that 1940s study to be false and the link between nitrate is no longer supported by current studies
  • other health claims such as nitrate causing cancer have been proven false
  • health experts including a federal agency recommend a diet high in nitrate in foods like spinach, beets and celery for its help in heart health
  • dairy farmers recognize that while the EPA maintains the limit, they will continue to make great progress in limiting or eliminating nitrate contributions from dairy farms

 

Complete details here:

 

SFF LP Nitrate Info Updated 2019