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Posted Sat Jan 17 2009: from Science News:
Livestock manure stinks for infant health
The manure generated by thousands of cows or pigs doesn’t just stink — it may seriously affect human health. New research examining two decades’ worth of livestock production data finds a positive relationship between increased production at industrial farms and infant death rates in the counties where the farms reside. The study reported in the February American Journal of Agricultural Economics implicates air pollution and suggests that Clean Air Act regulations need to be revamped to address livestock production of noxious gases. The new work is in line with several studies documenting the ill effects of megafarms, which typically have thousands of animals packed into small areas, comments Peter Thorne, director of the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Higher rates of lung disease have been found in workers at large poultry and swine operations and respiratory problems increase in communities when these large-scale farms move in, Thorne notes. “This study is a very important contribution,” says Thorne. “This is an industry we really need — it provides food and a lot of jobs — the answer isn’t for everyone to become vegetarians.”
[Read more stories about: contamination, airborne pollutants]

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