500 children in mine fire study, but more work to be done

500 children in mine fire study, but more work to be done

More than 500 children from the Latrobe Valley area are now enrolled in a study that will track the health impact of the 2014 Hazelwood Mine Fire.

Known as the Latrobe Early Life Follow-up (ELF) study, the research is being done by the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania as part of the larger, Monash University-led Hazelwood Health Study. The ELF study focuses specifically on infants and young children.

Parents have already completed a survey giving important baseline information on their children, and one of the next steps will be simple testing to measure the children’s lung and blood vessel function.

The study team will soon be contacting participants to make appointments for this testing at a local venue. No studies like this have been done before and it is not known if there will be any longer term health issues identified.

The study co-ordinators are now asking those parents who haven’t yet returned their consent forms for the study to get in touch so that their information can be used.

“We’ve had a fantastic response from the community,” lead researcher Dr Fay Johnston said. “People have been really supportive and it’s wonderful to have 500 children involved. This will help us see whether the smoke exposure has an impact on a number of common infections such as colds and sore ears in the first few years of life, or on the early development of the lungs and blood vessels.

“Now we really need those parents who haven’t returned their consent forms to return them to us because that allows us to use the data more effectively.”

Please contact the ELF Study hotline on 1800 322 102 to complete your consent details.

Contact: Miranda Harman

Phone: 0427 199 562