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Report: Calif. nitrate contamination spreading
Report: nitrate contamination in Salinas, Central valleys' drinking water pervasive, spreading
By The Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) ' A new report finds nitrate contamination of drinking water is pervasive in California's agricultural heartland and is bound to get worse in coming years.

The study, released Tuesday by UC Davis researchers, concluded chemical fertilizers and manure are the main source of contamination in groundwater for over 1 million Californians in the Salinas Valley and parts of the Central Valley.

The study shows that about one in 10 people in that area rely on untreated groundwater that may exceed the nitrate standards. Most are residents of small, poor farmworker communities.

The study concludes that improved farming practices and blending, treatment and alternative sources are the most cost effective solutions.

Nitrates are found naturally in foods, but scientists have linked high levels to "blue baby syndrome", reproductive disorders and cancer.

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