THE INFLUENCE OF NITRATES ON HUMAN HEALTH: BENEFITS AND RISKS
Keywords:nitrates, water, methemoglobinemia, children
Objectives. Nitrates are salts of nitric acid used as fertilizers, food additives, explosives, thus, they are are found in air, water, soil, vegetables and meat products. As a result of poor agricultural practices, nitrates accumulate in water and plant products. Their concentrations in water are a worldwide problem, and decreasing nitrate pollution is a trend adopted by many countries. The aim of the paper is to evaluate the exposure and impact of nitrates on the health of the population.
Materials and methods. An advanced search of the international and national specialized literature in the field of the impact of nitrates on the health of the population was carried out. The data from statistical form no. 360-1/e "Register of records of persons with acute non-professional chemical poisoning" and from the electronic Register regarding the records of drinking water supply sources, during 2016 – 2021, were evaluated and systematized.
Results and discussions. In the Republic of Moldova, approximately 10 cases of nitrate poisoning are registered annually. During the years 2016-2021, there were 58 cases, of which 44 were children and 14 were adults. Most poisonings occur in children under 2 years of age. This is due to the fact that drinking water from wells is used in children's nutrition, where the nitrate content exceeds the maximum permissible concentration.
Conclusions. Nitrates have recently become the most controversial substance present in food, both natural and derived from additives used during processing. There is a correlation between the negative impact and the benefits of nitrates, manifested by the regulated consumption of nitrates up to the maximum permissible dose, in order to improve the health of the population and minimize health risks.
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