People can be exposed to hazardous substances on contaminated
land via direct contact with contaminated soil, swallowing food or
water from contaminated environments, and breathing vapours or
contaminated dust. Exposure to hazardous substances can have
significant adverse effects on health and on soil, surface water,
groundwater, and ecosystems.
As of November 2012, Environment Canterbury had identified 3524
sites in Canterbury that are potentially contaminated due to their
current or former use. There may be additional contaminated
sites that have not yet been identified, especially where past
land-use information is unavailable. There are also likely to
be many thousands of older residential properties in Christchurch
with some degree of contamination from lead-based paint, asbestos,
gardening/pesticide use, and home business/hobby activities.
the full issue summary on contaminated land [PDF].