Women engaged in agriculture more prone to cancer

June 16th, 2009 - 2:02 pm ICT by ANI  

Wellington, June 16 (ANI): Women working in the agricultural sector face the highest risk of contracting leukaemia, according to Massey University scientists.

The finding comes from the recently released analysis by the university’s Centre for Public Health Research, reports the NZPA.

For the analysis, the researchers started collecting data in 2003 by interviewing 225 cancer patients aged 25-75, and 471 randomly selected participants from the general population.

They observed that leukaemia risk was four to five times greater among market gardeners and nursery growers than the general population.

Farmers growing crops for market and field crop and vegetable growers experienced varying degrees of elevated risk.

Lead researcher Dave McLean said that market farmers and growers faced a risk 1.8 times greater than the average population, probably due to exposure to pesticides.

The researchers pointed out that the overall risk appeared to be up to 3.4 times greater in women than men.

While it was not clear why there was a difference between the genders, the researchers attributed the divide to the different tasks traditionally performed by men and women in horticultural occupations.

Oxford University Press, on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association, has published the researchers’ findings. (ANI)

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