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© 1991 The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


Unit infants reach about six months of age their digestive system has a diminished capability to secrete gastric acid, thus the pH level can rise. At this pH level bacteria proliferates increasing the transformation of nitrate to nitrates. Thus, exposure to nitrate at levels in excess of 10 ppm can result in higher risk of methemoglobinemia. Methemoglobinemia, also known as blue baby syndrome, is characterized by a reduced ability of the blood to carry oxygen. This NebFact discusses the signs and symptoms, case histories and the treatment and prevention of the syndrome.