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UNC Study Finds Hog Farm Neighbors Suffer More Health Problems

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RALEIGH — People with concerns about hog farms may now have scientific evidence that supports their claims.

A new study finds that people who live near large hog farms suffer more upper respiratory and stomach problems than neighbors in other farming areas.

The state says it has had numerous complaints over the years about health problems related to industrial hog farms. Now something has been done to see if there is a link. It is a health survey of 150 people by aUNCresearcher.

"It's pretty much put forward in the study about nausea, talks about burning eyes and stuffy nose, and irritation," saidDr. Dennis McBride, N.C. Health Director.

The hog industry says it wants to know if its farms impact neighbors, but it says the work done by UNC can hardly be considered a scientific study.

"We have some concerns about the conclusions, making a broad-based conclusion, on such a small survey sample," said Beth Anne Mumford,N.C. Pork Councilspokesperson.

The state believes this hog farm research is just a starting point.

"But like any study, it has its limitations. But it certainly gives us a basis to go forward and look further into this situation," said McBride.

Hog industry backers say in the meantime, the study just further damages its reputation.

"To make these kinds of accusations does really nothing more than to create a situation in those communities of distrust and anxiety amongst people who have to figure out a way to live and work together on these issues," said Mumford.

The Pork Council went on to accuse UNC researchers of having an anti-farm bias.

Bias or not, the bottom line is you can expect to hear more about studies like this in the future.

The state health director warns in the meantime, people living near large hog farms may want to limit their exposure to hog odors.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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