Nitrates and nitrites are chemicals that can be found naturally in air, soils, surface waters, and groundwater and in foods and other products. Two of the earth’s most common elements, nitrogen and oxygen, combine to form these nitrogen-containing compounds. Nitrates are essential nutrients for plant growth. However, some people may be sensitive to exposure to nitrates The Nitrates and Food Safety: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet providers information about the potential risks of exposure to nitrates and nitrites.
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