Agricultural Contamination of Subterranean Water with Nitrates and Nitrites: An Environmental and Public Health Problem

  •  Itzel Galaviz-Villa    
  •  Cesáreo Landeros-Sánchez    
  •  Ma del Refugio Castañeda-Chávez    
  •  Juan P. Martínez-Dávila    
  •  Arturo Pérez-Vázquez    
  •  Iourii Nikolskii-Gavrilov    
  •  Fabiola Lango-Reynoso    


Water contamination is a consequence of human settlement, agricultural, silvicultural, and industrial activity in a
region. The nitrates and nitrites dissolved in groundwater are indirectly consumed by humans, where they cause
negative health effects. Among the most commonly observed problems are the dysfunction of the thyroid gland,
production of nitrosamines (which commonly cause cancer), and a decrease in the capacity of the blood to
transport oxygen, also known as metahemoglobinemia or, "blue baby syndrome". As part of the agreements
signed by Mexico during the Conference of the United Nations on the Environment and Development in June,
1992, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Agenda 21 was adopted as a normative document focused on achieving
"sustainable development" in all fields. Modern concepts of production attempt to guarantee that human consumer goods are innocuous, and are produced in a manner that promotes environmental sustainability, thus
contributing to protection of consumer and ecosystem health.

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