New research finds that the nitrate ingested over the course of a person’s adult lifetime through tap water and bottled water could be a risk factor for prostate cancer, according to a press release by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). This finding is the conclusion of a study conducted in Spain and led by ISGlobal. The findings have been published in Environmental Health Perspectives. The nitrate present in the water comes from agricultural fertilisers and manure from intensive livestock farming; it is washed into aquifers and rivers by rainfall.

To evaluate the possible association between prostate cancer and long-term exposure to nitrate and THMs in drinking water, a research team led by ISGlobal studied 697 cases of prostate cancer in Spanish hospitals between 2008 and 2013 as well as a control group made up of 927 men aged 38-85 years who had not been diagnosed with cancer at the time of the study. The findings showed that the higher the nitrate intake, the greater the association with prostate cancer. Participants with higher waterborne nitrate ingestion (lifetime average of more than 14 mg per day) were 1.6 times more likely to develop low-grade or medium-grade prostate cancer and nearly 3 times more likely to develop an aggressive prostate tumor than participants with lower nitrate intakes (lifetime average of less than 6 mg per day).

The authors noted that this study simply provides the first evidence of the association, which will need to be confirmed through further research. Therefore, there is still a long way to go before we can assert a causal relationship.

Source: Water World

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