I've heard all the claims put against sodium nitrate but I'm not going to worry about it too much. I think it's USDA's job to worry about if and how much sodium nitrate should be in my cold cuts. And I believe they have restrictions on it.
It's not like these companies can do whatever they want with their products. Plus, there are plenty of organic nitrate-free meat products out there if people want. We have to accept that processed meats is a huge part of the American diet. How many Americans are going to throw out their bacon and hot dogs?
And just as the article says here, vitamin C helps protect from any negative effects of sodium nitrate. So just have your orange juice or vitamin C supplement and enjoy those sausage patties.