Nitrite and Nitrate in Cancer

  • David M. Klurfield
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


Animal studies have demonstrated the carcinogenicity of nitrite at large doses, but this occurs primarily under conditions leading to formation of nitrosamines. Human exposure to nitrate is primarily through consumption of green leafy or root vegetables, a significant portion of which concentrates in saliva where it is reduced to nitrite by oral bacteria. Those amounts far exceed the usual intake from processed meats. Epidemiological studies do not provide sufficient evidence of cancer risk from consumption of either nitrate or nitrite from any sources. As of this writing, there is insufficient evidence to infer causality in this putative relationship.


Nitrosamines Cancer Epidemiology Tumor Carcinogenesis 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Program Leader for Human NutritionUSDA Agricultural Research ServiceBeltsvilleUSA

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