3 Aug 2011

Farm children more likely to get blood cancers, study shows

6:06 pm on 3 August 2011

Children growing up on farms could have a higher chance of getting blood cancers later in life, according to a New Zealand scientist.

The study by Andrea t'Mannetje from Massey University in Wellington has just been published in the British Occupational and Medicine Journal.

The report shows exposure during infancy and childhood to animals, especially poultry, may increase the chance of haematological cancer or blood cancers such as leukaemia and myeloma in adulthood.

It says this may be down to exposure to certain viruses and pesticides affecting the immune system in those early years.

Dr t'Mannetje's study looked at the death records of about 114,000 one New Zealanders aged 35 to 85 from 1998 to 2003.

About 3000 of those were due to blood cancers - with about 40% of this number farm related.