Monday, 3 March 2014

Monash researchers' timely study into effect of planned burns in southeast Victoria

The prolonged smoke exposure currently experienced by residents of Morwell and surrounding areas as a result of the Hazelwood fire has caused very poor air quality ratings since the fire began in early February.

Coincidentally, a team of researchers led by Dr Martine Dennekamp from the DEPM’s Clinical Epidemiology and MonCOEH Units, have been visiting towns in the south eastern regions of Victoria, including Traralgon, Maffra and Warburton, to collect data from participants in order to establish a baseline healthy reading of the participants’ respiratory and cardiovascular health.

Participants in the Planned Burns Study are being asked to complete a questionnaire, followed by a series of medical tests including tests of heart and lung function, blood pressure and a blood test, which will be repeated after any planned burns occur in the area. “We’re trying to see whether we can expect long-term effects from individual-level exposure,” Dr Dennekamp told Stephanie Charalambous of the Latrobe Valley Express.

Dr Dennekamp said that there are currently very few studies  looking at the long term effects of smoke exposure within the community. The study is being funded by the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre.

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