Working in a cotton mill has bright side

6:27pm, March 27, 2007

People who work amid bales of raw cotton are less likely to get lung cancer than are people in the general population, a study of Chinese women indicates.

While past research has shown that workers in a cotton mill tend to develop shortness of breath, chronic cough, and other health problems, some scientists also noted less lung cancer than they had expected.

In the first long-term study to quantify such anticancer effects, researchers tapped into a huge database of Shanghai women who worked in various textile mills. They identified 628 women with lung cancer and 3,184 women who didn't have the disease. Women with heavy workplace exposure to raw-cotton dust were 40 percent less likely to develop lung cancer than were women not exposed, the researchers report in the March 7 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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