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Nitrates and Nitrites

These are chemicals that are used to treat and preserve bacon and other meats, and to prevent botulism and aflatoxin mould.

Scientifically, they are any salt of nitric acid containing the N03 ion. Nitrates are toxic as they react with protein to form nitrsamines, which are cancer-causing substances, and high levels are now found in drinking water, especially in arable areas. It's possible that they contribute to stomach cancer, although the evidence is unproven. A large intake of Vitamin C is thought to be an effective block.

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