Wellington, Jan 28 : Farmers can breathe a sigh of relief, for scientists have found that working with manure can drastically reduce chances of developing lung cancer.
It has been reported that dairy farmers were five times less prone to contract the disease than the general population.
The report cited that farmers typically breathed in dust consisting largely of dried manure, and all the bacteria that grew in it.
"As strange as it sounds, epidemiologists are starting to uncover unexpected links between our exposure to dirt and germs, and our risk of cancer later in life," Stuff.co.nz quoted the report, as stating.
According to the report, adults with greater exposure to germs than usual might develop a better resistance to bugs, including cancer.
The report stated: "Some researchers are starting to wonder whether the higher incidence of certain cancers in affluent populations - including breast cancer, lymphoma and melanoma - might also have something to do with sanitised, infection-free living."
"If they're right, the implications are huge. If we can understand exactly what it is about some germs that has a protective effect, we should be able to reduce people's risk of developing certain tumours later in life by exposing them to harmless microbes."
However, Mike Berridge of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in Wellington ruled out any particular relevance of the report to the farmers.
"I've been aware of some studies on asthma and farm workers but this one is a bit out of the blue. I'd be very surprised if it is the case," he told The New Zealand Herald newspaper.
He added: "It's very different overseas because they keep animals in barns and out of the weather and they don't have outdoor farming. I suspect something like that would be more relevant to European farm workers than New Zealand farm workers."
The report was published in New Scientist magazine.