22 Feb 2021

Thousands of Kiwis may be exposed to nitrates in water - study

From Morning Report, 8:14 am on 22 February 2021

A new study reveals that between 300,000 and 800,000 New Zealanders may be exposed to potentially harmful levels of nitrates in their drinking water, which may increase their chances of developing bowel cancer.

The research, overseen by Victoria and Otago Universities, has huge implications for dairying, with cow urine one of the major contributors to increased nitrate levels.

The findings show an increased bowel cancer risk with readings eleven times lower than the current safe level.

Mike Joy is a freshwater ecologist and co-author of the study.