Environmental Earth Sciences

, 77:782 | Cite as

Health risk assessments due to nitrate levels in drinking water in villages of Azadshahr, northeastern Iran

  • Mehdi Qasemi
  • Mansoureh Farhang
  • Hamed Biglari
  • Mojtaba Afsharnia
  • Afsaneh Ojrati
  • Fatemeh Khani
  • Mohammad Samiee
  • Ahmad ZareiEmail author
Original Article


Groundwater is the main water source used for drinking and cooking purposes globally. Nitrate level in most groundwater resources in arid and semi-arid areas has increased in the past several decades as a result of human activities and natural processes. This may exert a great impact on human health. To learn the contamination circumstances of groundwater nitrate in villages of Azadshahr, Iran and assess its probable risk to the health of adults, children and infants, fifty-eight groundwater samples were collected from wells and springs in 2018. Nitrate concentrations had a wide spatial variability in wells and springs of the studied villages, with values going from 1 up to 51 mg/L. Exceedances of the EPA standard value were limited to two village springs (villages Nili and Narab, with nitrate level of 51 and 46 mg/L, respectively). The hazard quotients (HQ) values for 41% of children and infants were above the safety level (i.e., HQ > 1), suggesting that groundwater nitrate would have significant health effects on these age groups. Therefore, appropriate control measures and sanitation improvement programs should be put in place to protect the health of the residents in the contaminated villages.


Drinking water Nitrate Health risk assessment Non-carcinogenic risk Azadshahr 



The authors would thank Professor Mehdi Zarrei in Sickkids—Hospital in Toronto, Canada for valuable comments and suggestions, allowing us to improve this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mehdi Qasemi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mansoureh Farhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hamed Biglari
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mojtaba Afsharnia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Afsaneh Ojrati
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fatemeh Khani
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mohammad Samiee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ahmad Zarei
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Faculty of Health, Social Development and Health Promotion Research CenterGonabad University of Medical SciencesGonabadIran
  2. 2.Student Research CommitteeGonabad University of Medical SciencesGonabadIran

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