Nitrates are a type of chemical that can be found in the water you drink, and if you have too much nitrate in your drinking water, it can lead to some serious health issues. Nitrates are not naturally occurring substances; they’re added to the water by farmers or municipalities.
Nitrates are often used as fertilizers on crops like corn or wheat, and these crops absorb the nitrates from the soil they grow in. When you eat these crops, those nitrates get absorbed into your body. The same process happens when you drink water that has been contaminated with nitrate-laden fertilizer runoff—the fertilizer gets into your body through your digestive system.
Nitrates have been linked to various health problems, including cancer and thyroid disease.