Are all drinking waters safe?
Humans have been drinking groundwater since we came into existence. Groundwater is the result of rainfall that makes its way underground where it undergoes natural filtration.
In the midst of our modern society, it is becoming harder to find sources of well-filtered groundwater.
One of the causes for the pollution to groundwater is the use of nitrogen in soil fertilisers.
The nitrogen present in the fertilisers breaks down to become nitrate-nitrogen which seeps into groundwater in the areas where fertilisers are used. Drinking nitrate-nitrogen contaminated water may have many adverse effects to your body. People with low stomach acid secretion, especially babies, may experience conditions such as anaemia.
We regularly take precautions with infants by boiling the water that they drink or that is to be used in mixing milk substitute formulas, but unfortunately nitrate-nitrogen is one form of pollution in the water that can’t be boiled off.
High levels of nitrate-nitrogen can cause conditions such as ‘blue baby syndrome’, and is even known to be a potent animal carcinogen following chemical reactions with stomach acid. National authorities of many nations therefore set guidelines around the minimum water quality standard necessary for water to be potable. This explains why mineral waters containing nitrate-nitrogen are still on the shelves for us to buy, despite the possible adverse effects to our body.
Water quality guidelines indicate that nitrate-nitrogen levels should be within the following thresholds:
Japan (Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare): Nitrate < 10mg/L
Nitrite* < 0.04mg/L
The United State (EPA) Nitrate < 10mg/L
Nitrite* < 1mg/L
The United Kingdom Nitrate < 50mg/L
Nitrite* < 0.5mg/L
Australia Nitrate < 50mg/L
Nitrite* < 3mg/L
World Health Organisation Nitrate < 50mg/L
Nitrite* < 3mg/L
Zoe’s standard Nitrate <0.02mg/L
This makes Zoe one of the cleanest waters in the world.
*Nitrite-nitrogen is derived from nitrate-nitrogen after a chemical reaction. Given that it has a more profound adverse effect on health even at low dosages, it is closely monitored.
More information on local and international mineral waters and levels of nitrate-nitrogen (2007): http://tabemono.info/report/report_7_216_2.html