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Nitrate polluted water leads to birth defects in farm areas

Credit: idwr.idaho.gov

Credit: idwr.idaho.gov

Nitrates seeping into groundwater from fertilizer, animal waste, and other sources in agricultural areas greatly increase the chances of birth defects, says a study from Texas A&M.

An extensive new study confirms a long-suspected link between crippling birth defects and the nitrate contamination that threatens drinking water for 250,000 people in the San Joaquin Valley.

The study took place in the Midwest, but its findings hit hard in the Valley, where research last year showed farm-related nitrate pollution is extensive and expanding in the underground water of Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties.

The birth defects involved include spina bifida, cleft palate and missing limbs.

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