Hazelwood Health Study respiratory scientist Tom McCrabb (right) helps Morwell resident Ian Hamilton during one of the lung function tests.

The Hazelwood Health Study is encouraging Morwell residents invited to participate in lung function assessments to book their appointment today.

The lung function study, now into its sixth week of testing, has so far invited 300 Morwell residents who completed the Adult Survey to participate in the free, specialised lung assessments.

An additional 250 invitations will be mailed to Morwell Adult Survey participants shortly.

“So far, we have tested 75 Morwell residents. However, we need to test 340 residents to ensure we have sufficient data to give us an accurate picture of health effects associated with exposure to the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire,” Respiratory Coordinator Brigitte Borg said.

“We need invited community members to participate to help us reach our target.”

The assessments are being held in the Hazelwood Health Study clinic at Latrobe Community Health Services in Buckley Street, Morwell from now until November 2017.

The assessments, which can take up to 2.5 hours to complete, aim to find out whether exposure to the mine fire smoke is associated with respiratory symptoms, or changes in lung health or asthma management.

During the assessment, participants will complete surveys about their lung health and perform a series of simple breathing tests under the direction of a trained respiratory scientist.

Residents who choose to take part in the assessments will be compensated for their time with a $50 gift card. Information on how to participate is included in the mail-outs.

“Taking part in the lung function assessments is a great opportunity for the community to contribute to the Hazelwood Health Study,” HHS Community Advisory Committee member Shane Wilson said.

“Participating in these tests will help researchers understand if the mine fire smoke impacted our health and the health of future generations.”

Residents who receive the invitation packs should phone the study on 1800 985 899 to book an appointment. Residents who completed last year’s Adult Survey but have since changed address, can phone the recruitment team to find out if they were randomly chosen to participate and also update their address.

More information about the study can be found at www.hazelwoodhealthstudy.org.au

This research is funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.