Infant methemoglobinemia: the role of dietary nitrate in food and water

Pediatrics. 2005 Sep;116(3):784-6. doi: 10.1542/peds.2005-1497.


Infants for whom formula may be prepared with well water remain a high-risk group for nitrate poisoning. This clinical report reinforces the need for testing of well water for nitrate content. There seems to be little or no risk of nitrate poisoning from commercially prepared infant foods in the United States. However, reports of nitrate poisoning from home-prepared vegetable foods for infants continue to occur. Breastfeeding infants are not at risk of methemoglobinemia even when mothers ingest water with very high concentrations of nitrate nitrogen (100 ppm).

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food / analysis*
  • Infant Formula
  • Methemoglobinemia / chemically induced*
  • Methemoglobinemia / diagnosis
  • Methemoglobinemia / therapy
  • Nitrates / analysis
  • Nitrates / metabolism
  • Nitrates / poisoning*
  • Vegetables / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Supply / analysis*


  • Nitrates
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical