Nitrates and Nitrites are nitrogen compounds that are inorganic, naturally occurring and present in the environment.They are used in the curing process of foods to preserve foods, as well as add flavor and color. They are also found naturally in soil and water.
Nitrates and Nitrites are water soluble. Once taken into the body, nitrates are converted into nitrites through the saliva of adults and through the gastrointestinal tract of infants. It is these Nitrites that are toxic to humans, causing negative health effects after prolonged exposure.