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The use of epidemiological concepts and techniques to discern factors associated with the nitrate concentration of well water on swine farms in the USA


Science of the Total Environment 153(1-2): 85-96
The use of epidemiological concepts and techniques to discern factors associated with the nitrate concentration of well water on swine farms in the USA
This epidemiological study investigates the relationship between various factors associated with swine farms and the nitrate concentration of well water in the USA. Through a random sampling procedure, 605 swine farms located in 18 states were selected for inclusion in this study. A total of 631 well water samples were collected from these farms and tested for a variety of elements and compounds. The concentrations of nitrate, nitrite, sulfate, chloride, sodium, potassium, ammonia, fluoride, bromide and lithium were determined by an ion chromatograph while an inductively coupled argon plasma emission spectrophotometer was used to determine the concentrations of calcium, magnesium, barium, zinc, iron and phosphate. Data concerning various farm factors were gathered via a personally administered questionnaire. The data were examined using both multiple linear regression and logistic regression. Results indicate that 53.6% (338/631) of the wells contained detectable levels of nitrate, 11.7% (74/631) had nitrate levels exceeding 45 ppm and 4.3% (27/631) exceeded 100 ppm. Logistic models demonstrated an association between nitrate concentrations > 45 ppm, increasing water potassium levels and wells < 100 ft deep. Nitrate levels > 100 ppm were related to increasing water concentrations of potassium, magnesium, barium and zinc, wells 6-10 years old, increasing distance from the study farm to the nearest cattle farm and a greater distance to the nearest waterway located off the study farm. A negative association was seen between nitrate concentrations > 100 ppm, the water level of sulfate, and the use of the same well to supply both the household and livestock. Multiple linear regression models revealed a positive association between increasing nitrate concentration and the water levels of chloride, calcium, zinc and the greater number of miles from the study farm to the nearest farm with cattle or sheep. A negative association was noted between the concentration of well water nitrate and the water levels of sulfate and ammonia, the use of water treatment, the number of miles to the nearest farm with poultry, the employment of water treatment and the use of the same well to supply water to both livestock and the household.

Accession: 002530295

PMID: 7939621

DOI: 10.1016/0048-9697(94)90105-8

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