City pollution has health consequences, but so does ‘fresh’ farmyard air, according to a new study.
The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment has published the results of a three-year study into 2,500 residents living near livestock farms in East Brabant and North Limburg.
It shows that people living near livestock farms had reduced lung function and were more likely to get pneumonia, linked to a particles and a high concentration of ammonia from manure in the air.
‘These effects are comparable with the harmful health effects caused by city traffic,’ says the report.
Its results were presented at a closed symposium in Den Bosch at the beginning of July, reports Omroep Brabant broadcaster.
On the bright side, asthma and allergy rates were relatively lower in people living near livestock farms, while there were fewer people with a chronic lung disease, COPD (although those who had it were often more seriously affected).
But the study, also carried out by Utrecht university, Wageningen UR and the Netherlands institute for health services research, found lung function dropped by 2%-5% in people living in areas with a lot of cows, pigs or chickens.
People near poultry had 10% more cases of pneumonia.
Its synopsis said there was no clear-cut answer to the health effects of living near livestock farms, with ‘a number of positive and a number of negative effects’.
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