The results have just been published in the scientific journal International Journal of Cancer. Nitrate in groundwater and drinking water, which primarily comes from fertilisers used in the agricultural production, has not only been subject to decades of environmental awareness – it has also been suspected of increasing the risk of cancer. The largest epidemiological study ever carried out in this area now shows that there is a correlation – also when the amount of nitrate in the drinking water is far below the current drinking water standard.
The researchers have calculated how much nitrate Danes have been exposed to where they lived and compared this to information about cancer diagnoses in Denmark. Researchers have managed to follow a total of 2.7 million Danes during the period 1978-2011 and the study is based on nitrate analyses from more than 200,000 drinking water samples, making the study the largest and most detailed in this area.
“Each year, approximately 5,000 Danes contract colorectal cancer, which can have many causes. Our study shows that nitrate in drinking water may be one of them. In the study, people who were exposed to the highest concentration of nitrate in drinking water (above 9.3 mg
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