Officials in the northern Iowa town of Sheffield are warning parents of infants under six months old not to give water to their children due to high levels of nitrates in the water. A news release from the city late last week showed that testing on water samples taken on July 30th showed that nitrate levels were at 13.58 milligrams per liter, above the maximum nitrate standard level of 10 milligrams.
The city says boiling, freezing or letting the water stand does not reduce the nitrate level and parents should not use it to make formula or juice. Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing excess nitrates could become seriously ill, and if left untreated, may die.
Symptoms include shortness of breath and "blue baby syndrome," which is indicated by blueness of the skin. The city says nitrate levels can be impacted from natural, industrial or agricultural sources including septic systems and run-off, and can vary throughout the year. When contacted today, Sheffield City Clerk Deb Hartman refused an interview to provide updated information on the situation.