Fish & Game back call from Canterbury Officer of Health

Published: Thu 13 Jun 2019 11:47 AM
Fish & Game back call from Canterbury Medical Officer of Health
Fish & Game New Zealand back the call from Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey that research into the levels of nitrates in drinking water is urgently needed after a new study found a correlation of high nitrate levels and bowel cancer.
"Fish & Game carried out sampling in Canterbury last year to see whether pollution from intensive agriculture is getting into drinking water," Fish & Game New Zealand Chief Executive Martin Taylor says.
"Nitrate testing of 114 drinking water samples from across the Canterbury plains showed that more than half of them were above the level considered safe in the world's largest ever study on the impacts of nitrates in drinking water.
"This Danish study of 2.5 million people confirmed that nitrate levels above 3.87 mg/1000ml substantially increases the risk of colorectal cancer.
"We agree with Dr Alistair Humphrey that New Zealand needs to conduct its own study to fully understand the risk associated with having high levels of nitrates in drinking water.
"The primary source of nitrates contamination in Canterbury water comes from intensive agriculture who use large amounts of fertiliser and from cow urine.
"Canterbury has more than 1.3 million dairy cattle. This means the situation will get worse in future as nitrate levels are increasing and predicted to do so for decades.
"The true impact of intensive agriculture in Canterbury is not only about destroying habitat for trout, eels and whitebait, but it is also now impacting on many peoples' health."

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