Concerns regarding the health
effects from sulfate in drinking water have been raised because of reports that diarrhea
may be associated with ingesting water
that contains high levels of sulfate.
Of particular concern are groups in the general
population (i.e., infants and transients) that
may be at greater risk from the laxative effects
of sulfate when they switch abruptly to drinking
water with high sulfate concentrations.
Anecdotal reports and case studies suggest that
people suffer gastrointestinal effects
when exposed to drinking water
containing high levels of sulfate.
However, there have been few experimental studies
of the effects of sulfate on
adults, and only two epidemiologic studies designed
to assess the effects of high levels of sulfate on infants,
and it is not yet possible to accurately determine
the concentration of sulfate in drinking water that will produce adverse
human health effects.