Many people are unaware of NDMA, a dangerous chemical that can cause toxic effects on the human body, and which is found in many common sources of food, and even some popular medications. The good news is that there are few sources of consumption that will overexposure you to dangerous NDMA levels. That being said, there are also tragic cases of poor industry or corporate oversight leading to negligent amounts of NDMA being contained within products. To help you understand the history of this complex issue, let’s break down the nature of NDMA, and how its overexposure could affect your health:
Effects of Exposure to NDMA
People are typically exposed to only small amounts of NDMA through their environment, primarily through water and some types of food. Nitrosamines, alkylamines and more can turn into NDMA when in your stomach, for example (and these chemicals are found in common food and water sources). Processed foods are more likely to create NDMA, so cured meats, fish, cheese, beer, and vegetables are the most likely food sources to contain NDMA.
This normal level of exposure does not cause notable problems. Your liver is able to break down NDMA through breathing and urination, allowing most amounts of NDMA you consume to pass through your system within 24 hours. Unfortunately, even moderate exposure over especially long periods of time can become toxic, and even lead to conditions that can cause you to be more likely to develop cancer.
To combat this issue, there has been a threshold of 0.11ug/L (micrograms per liter) of NDMA placed on tap water. Places that show high risks of bypassing these levels are more heavily monitored to prevent contamination or drinking water issues. Additionally, the FDA suggests that consuming amounts upwards of 0.096 micrograms per day is typically a reasonably safe amount. The closeness of the line that separates drinking water between being low or high in its NDMA concentration has become an increased concern in medical and infrastructure circles over the last few decades.
Signs You’ve Been Overexposed to NDMA
Knowing that you’ve been overexposed to NDMA is key to preventing the chemical from leading to risky or even deadly effects on your body. Since NDMA is toxic, it can be measured, but determining the exact amount of NDMA in your system is difficult, so doctors typically rely on monitoring patients’ liver function to diagnose any potential cases of NDMA overexposure.
NDMA is known to cause a wide variety of potentially adverse health effects. The chemical enters the bloodstream and organs within minutes of oral consumption and can begin causing issues such as jaundice, vomiting, fever, nausea, headache, abdominal cramps, dizziness, and much more.
If you’ve been overexposed to NDMA, there are different types of treatments that are typically pursued. Ingested NDMA is lessened using activated charcoal, inhaled NDMA is treated through oxygen, and saline washes are used for cases involving NDMA exposure to the eyes. More intense, wide-ranging treatment options can be undertaken depending on the level of your NDMA exposure, however, so your medical caretakers will determine which treatment route is best for you in the unfortunate situation that you’re overexposed to NDMA.
Unfortunately, there have been popular medications that were eventually found to create high levels of NDMA in frequent users. Drugs such as Metformin, Nizatidine, Ranitidine (also known as Zantac), Valsartan, and more have fallen into this category and even led to lawsuits that are seeking restitution for affected patients. The FDA releases yearly guidance for manufacturers on how to control NDMA contamination in their medication production, but occasional missteps or criminal negligence still unfortunately occur.
The FDA determined Zantac (Ranitidine) was failing to disclose the level of NDMA in their medication, leading the FDA to withdraw the medication from shelves. Similar withdrawals happened in many other cases as well. If you or a loved one have been harmed by overexposure to NDMA, you should understand that NDMA linked to cancer diagnoses qualify you for legal assistance.
Gaining Restitution is Your Right
You were unfairly victimized if you’ve been overexposed to NDMA over the years through prescribed medications. If you find yourself in need of legal assistance, starting out with a search for law firms that have handled such cases in the past is an excellent idea. These professionals can give you the knowledgeable, compassionate support and representation you need as you navigate the tricky process of gaining restitution. As you learn more about NDMA, you’ll also gain resources that will help you avoid products and medications that have unsafe NDMA levels in the future as well.