High nitrate levels pose health risks in McFarland

February 23, 2024 /

By Lupita Sosa

A local city, McFarland, California has been warned that its water has been found to have high levels of nitrates. McFarland residents do have the right to know what they should do about the situation, what necessarily needs to be done or how this situation happened, along with how long it has been going on. 

Since the 80’s there has been a situation where there was a big increase in cancer that had caused 13 diagnoses in 1991. This cancer rate was between three to four times higher for McFarland’s town size. It would be harder on the city residents if there were to be another big case that has to do with cancer, which would cause so many residents to panic and go insane. 

Along with the water being unhealthy which would lead to cancer, it is bad for pregnant women and infants under six months to shower or drink this water. This can lead any pregnant woman to have a huge increase in having a premature birth. As for infants, there is a syndrome that they can get that is known as “Blue Baby Syndrome” or methemoglobinemia which causes their bloodstream to turn their skin blue and difficulty breathing. 

To add information to this situation, the district was notified that it would take four to six weeks for the well repairs to be done. McFarland schools’ students are considered safe when it comes to the water provided for them from the water fountains since the City has had the district cut down the landscape watering. 

As to McFarland staff employees, the City is providing filtered water available in the main offices of their school and even the department offices. This situation is causing McFarlands’ school grass to look unusual since they are cutting back the water to cooperate with what the District has recommended. 

Residents of McFarland are saddened by this situation since good town scenery surrounds them. 

“Seeing the schools and even the parks not being watered and well taken care of like how they usually are is kind of saddening since they keep the grass well taken care of,” says a former resident in McFarland, California. “So far I haven’t had any problems with the pressure of the water, but I do hope these nitrate levels are fixed soon enough, so we aren’t taking the water as cautiously as we are doing right now.”

The water has been tested multiple times, resulting in pesticides, heavy metals, nitrates, coliform bacteria, and many other things that will cause health issues. Since the DHS now knows that the nitrates aren’t the reason for the cancer cluster, there still are possibilities for cancer. Boiling the water would also not help anything either, it would also make the nitrate levels higher than they originally are. 

This situation has been ongoing since September 19, 2023.