The fire in the Morwell open cut mine adjacent to the Hazelwood power station blanketed Morwell and the surrounding area in smoke and ash for six weeks in February and March 2014. In response to community concerns about the long-term health effects, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services commissioned the Hazelwood Mine Fire Health Study. The study is led by independent researchers from Monash University in collaboration with Federation University, University of Tasmania, University of Adelaide, and the CSIRO.
The Hazelwood Health Study is about identifying potential health outcomes for people who may have been impacted by the smoke from the mine fire. These might include heart and lung disease, cancer or mental health problems. It will also look at the effects on vulnerable groups such as infants and children, young people, and older people.
The website has been set up to keep the local communities and other interested people up to date on the progress of the study. The website has been designed to allow two-way communication, so we welcome comments and queries.
The study involves multiple research streams targeting different health outcomes and groups. Many people in the local area will be invited to participate in one or more of these activities. This may be via local campaigns in newspaper, radio etc, or by being directly approached. The Adult Survey and the Early Life Follow-up streams are currently recruiting participants. It is important that as many people as possible participate in the study, regardless of whether or not they believe they were exposed to the smoke, so that we can better understand the impacts of the smoke event on the community. We hope that everybody who is invited agrees to participate.
The online and telephone options to complete the Adult Survey closed at the end of 2016. Eligible participants can still complete a paper copy of the survey. Paper copies can be collected from multiple community locations in Morwell and Sale – see here for details.