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Living Near Livestock Farms May Help Protect Against Atopy

WEDNESDAY, May 2, 2018 -- Living in close proximity to livestock farms may protect against atopy, according to a study published online April 30 in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Floor Borlée, from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues assessed 2,443 adults (aged 20 to 72 years) for atopy, defined as specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) to common allergens and/or total IgE dIU/mL, based on residential proximity to livestock farms.

The researchers found that the prevalence of atopy was 29.8 percent. Those living closer to farms (<327 m; first tertile) had lower odds for atopy versus those living farther away (>527 m; third tertile) (odds ratio, 0.79). Significant associations in the same direction were seen in relation to distance from the nearest pig or cattle farm. For those who grew up on a farm, the associations between atopy and livestock farm exposure were somewhat stronger.

"Living in close proximity to livestock farms seems to protect against atopy," the authors write. "This study provides evidence that protective effects of early-life and adult farm exposures may extend beyond farming populations."

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Posted: May 2018