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Hog Lots Hurting Seniors’ Physical and Financial Health?

September 4, 2007

Cresco, IA – Many of the neighbors of large livestock confinement operations are retired seniors, and the hog lots may be affecting their physical and financial health, according to recent studies in Iowa and North Carolina. The studies report elderly face weakened immune systems from waterborne bacteria that can originate on factory farms. The facilities also emit gases, such as hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, which can cause respiratory problems for seniors.

Evelyn Adamec, a member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a retiree who lives less than one mile from a corporate confinement operation in rural Cresco. She says the locations of factory farms contribute to potential water and air contamination, as well as devaluing property.

"It infringes on our civil rights to live in a safe environment. So often, the siting of these facilities is not done with enough research to prevent these serious issues that are now arising."

Adamec says the decline in property values hits seniors especially hard because many count on their homes appreciating in value as part of their retirement planning.

The studies include a 2002 "Iowa Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Air Quality Study," which was a joint project of the University of Iowa and Iowa State University; and a 2000 study, "Intensive Livestock Operations, Health, and Quality of Life among Eastern North Carolina Residents," by researchers Steve Wing and Susanne Wolf of the University of North Carolina.

Dick Layman/Eric Mack, Public News Service - IA