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Nitrate in our drinking water

A new report has found that the health of up to 800,000 New Zealanders could be at risk from nitrate in our drinking water.

  • Nitrate is colourless and tasteless. It mainly comes from synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and urine from cows, working its way into rivers and groundwater.
  • High levels of nitrate in drinking water are linked to higher levels of colorectal cancers.
  • An international study linked nitrate pollution to increased rates of bowel cancer at rates of just 0.87mg per litre, far below New Zealand’s current standards, which allow up to 11.3mg of nitrates per litre.

Greenpeace has a petition calling on the government to lower the limit of nitrate allowed in our drinking water, by cutting synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and reducing cow numbers.  

Image: Greenpeace