-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
THURSDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Children raised on
livestock farms are at significantly greater risk of developing
blood cancers -- such as leukemia, multiple myeloma and
non-Hodgkin's lymphoma -- later in life, a new study contends.
The researchers pointed out that further studies will be needed
before a definitive cause and effect can be established, but they
suggested that exposure to particular viruses during childhood may
modify the immune system response and result in a higher risk for
blood cancer in adulthood.
In conducting the study, published in the July 28 online edition
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers compiled information from 114,000 death certificates for people between 35 and 85 years of age who died between 1998 and 2003 in New Zealand.
The study found that over the five-year period, more than 3,000
deaths were attributed to blood cancers. Moreover, the researchers
revealed that growing up on a livestock farm was linked to a higher
risk. They noted, however, that people who were raised on farms
with crops were not more likely to develop blood cancer.
Overall, the risk of developing a blood cancer was 22 percent
higher for those who grew up on a livestock farm than those who did
not, according to Andrea 't Mannetje, of the Centre for Public
Health Research at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand,
Being raised on a poultry farm carried the greatest risk, the
researchers noted. Those who had spent their childhood living on a
poultry farm were three times more likely to develop a blood cancer
On the flip side, growing up on a crop farm came with a nearly
20 percent lower risk of developing blood cancer, the investigators
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides
more information on
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