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Risiko Kontaminasi Nitrat Dalam Air Minum di AS

Kesehatan lebih dari 5,6 juta warga Amerika Serikat (AS) berisiko atau tidak terlindungi akibat level kontaminasi nitrat (NO3) dalam air minum, yang berasal dari fertilizer, sistem olah-limba, kotoran hewan, dan lain-lain. Begitu hasil penelitian dan kajian Dr. Laurel Schaider dan koleganya dari Silent Spring Institute dan Environmental Working Group (EWG) terhadap data nitrat pada 39.466 sistem air minum umum (public water systems)—air tanah dan air permukaan-- lebih dari 70% warga di AS (Environmental Health, 17/1/2019).

 “Since the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, there's been a real push to document other types of disparities in drinking water quality in the U.S. and understand the factors that drive them. Because at the end of the day, everyone should have access to clean and safe drinking water regardless of your race or where you live,” ungkap Dr. Laurel Schaider, ahli kimia pada Silent Spring Institute dan penulis utama karya ilmiah itu (Silent Spring Institute, 17/1/2019).

Hasil riset itu dirilis oleh Environmental Health edisi Januari 2019 (Schaider, L.A., L.R. Swetschinski, C. Campbell, R.A. Rudel. 2019. “Environmental justice and drinking water quality: are there socioeconomic disparities in nitrate levels in U.S. drinking water?" Environmental Health). Komunitas warga AS asal Amerika Selatan (Hispanic) terutama terkena dampak tingginya kontaminasi nitrat dalam air minum. “If that's the case, then it suggests government programs could to a better job at helping to improve water quality in minority communities,” papar Dr. Laurel Schaider (Silent Spring Institute, 17/1/2019).

Tim peneliti itu menemukan rata-rata konsentrasi nitrat pada level 5 miligram/Liter atau lebih (5 ppm / parts per million) pada 1.647 sistem air umum lebih dari 5,6 warga AS. Standar nitrat air minum menurut EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) AS berkisar 10 ppm nitrogen (nitrat) guna melindungi risiko “blue baby syndrome” (kemerosotan kemampuan darah membawa oksigen dalam tubuh) pada balita. Menurut hasil riset lain (Laurel A. Schaider, et al, 2016) bahwa level rendah 5 ppm juga berkaitan dengan beberapa sakit kanker dan cacat lahir. “Nitrate is also a good marker for the presence of other contaminants in drinking water,” papar Dr. Laurel Schaider (Silent Spring Institute, 17/1/2019).

Oleh: Servas Pandur