Laboratory for Energy-Related Health Research (LEHR) Public Health Consultation

Project Timeframe: 1999 to 2000

IAI provided epidemiological expertise and community education support for the California Department of Public Health’s investigation into whether there were infant methemoglobinemia cases in the vicinity of the Laboratory for Energy-Related Health Research (LEHR) in Yolo County, California. Nitrate contamination above the Maximum Contaminant Level had been previously documented at the site.

IAI staff researched hospital discharge records for discharges that contained the diagnosis code for methemoglobinemia. To identify the methemoglobinemia records that were most likely to be related to nitrate, the records were further grouped by specific diagnoses. Over a 13 year period, 97 cases of infant methemoglobinemia were identified; in 42 of these cases, methemoglobinemia was the principal diagnosis. While it is possible that some of these cases were the result of nitrate contaminated well-water, our examination of hospitalized methemoglobinemia cases was not definitive.