Where is NDMA Found?

N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is a carcinogen that has the potential to cause harmful effects, including cancers, in those who have been exposed to high enough levels. It was recently discovered by the FDA that this drug was present in the over-the-counter medication called Zantac and that over time the amount of the ingredient present in the drug increased past what is acceptable to be exposed to. When left out at or higher than room temperature, the level of this substance rises. The higher the temperature the medication is left at, the higher the level of NDMA’s present.

Where can NDMA be found naturally?

NDMA was initially manufactured in the production of rocket fuel, antioxidants, and softeners for copolymers. It is currently only manufactured by humans for research purposes since high levels were found in the air, water, and soil samples collected from the manufacturing sites. It is a yellow liquid that has no odor.

According to a report by the EPA that was released in 2014, it is the “Unintended byproduct of chlorination of wastewater at wastewater treatment plants that use chloramines for disinfection, raising significant concern as a drinking water contaminant.” It can be found in the air and soil as well as in drinking water. There is evidence in the report that it may leak into groundwater through the soil as it moves quickly in soil.

Is there NDMA present in foods?

There are multiple ways in which you can be exposed to NDMA through ingesting it, which is the most common way a human becomes exposed to the carcinogen. Some of these ways include:

Ingesting food that contains nitrosamines, such as smoked or cured meats and fish
  • Ingesting food that contains alkylamines, which can cause NDMA to form in the stomach

  • Drinking contaminated water

  • Drinking malt beverages (such as beer and whiskey) that may contain low levels of nitrosamines formed during processing

  • Using toiletry and cosmetic products such as shampoos and cleansers that contain NDMA

  • Breathing or inhaling cigarette smoke.

In most of these situations, however, the amount of NDMA is negligible and perfectly safe to be ingested. It is only when the ingredient is present in the body in large amounts that it may begin to adversely affect you.

Are there other medications in which NDMA is present?

According to an article published by C. Michael White in 2019, in addition to being found in ranitidine (Zantac), it can also be found in valsartan, losartan, irbesartan, angiotensin II receptor blockers, nizatidine, and metformin.

The FDA is continuously testing other medications as well to discern whether or not there may be adverse effects of the users as a result of NDMA usage. For information on whether or not a medication you or a loved one currently uses has been recalled for NDMA or otherwise, visit the FDA website.

In Zantac, the amount the FDA found in its tests were negligible, but knowing that the amount can increase the longer the drug is left out, Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, explained that the FDA believed it best to remove the drug from the shelves altogether.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one took Zantac and have developed cancer, it is in your best interest to speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You could have the basis for a claim against the drug manufacturing companies. Contact us online or call the office of Kwartler Manus at 267-214-8608 to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.

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