From News.Scotsman:

Children who grow up on farms where animals are kept are much more likely to develop cancer, according to a new study.

Youngsters raised on chicken farms are three times more likely to develop blood cancers later in life, claims the research.

The overall risk of diseases such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is 22 per cent higher for those raised on any type of livestock farm.

Scientists say exposure to particular types of virus in childhood may alter the immune system response – so increasing the risk of blood cancer as an adult.

Dr Andrea Mannetje, of Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand, and colleagues said: “It has repeatedly been observed that work as a farmer is associated with an increased risk of haematological cancers, but it is not known whether growing up on a farm also plays a role.

“The results of this mortality study indicate that growing up on a farm is associated with an increased risk of haematological cancer in adulthood; this association was present for growing up on a livestock farm, but not for growing up on a crop farm, and was not explained by having had an occupation as a farmer.”

The study, published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, analysed 3,000 blood cancer deaths in New Zealand out of more than 114,000 death certification records from 1998 to 2003 for those aged between 35 and 85 to identify a link with growing up on a livestock farm.

Poultry farms carried the greatest risk, while those growing up on an crop farm had an almost 20 per cent lower risk of developing a blood cancer. However, crop farming as an adult was associated with an almost 50 per cent increased risk.

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