The Latrobe ELF Study

The Latrobe ELF Study is part of the Hazelwood Health Study and is the first study of its kind to follow the wellbeing of children, following a severe smoke episode. The study aims to explore whether the smoke of the Hazelwood mine fire of 2014 affected the health and development of babies and children in any way in the years following the fire.

In particular the study is looking at the impact of smoke exposure on birth outcomes such as birthweight and maturity, the occurrence of minor common illnesses such as sore ears and common colds, as well as early lung, heart and blood vessel function and development. Information gathered from the study will assist communities and governments to respond to similar events from bushfires or other fires in the future.

The following video clip is an excerpt from the 2022 Community Briefing providing an update on the current status and future plans for the Psychological Impacts stream.

ELF Clinical Assessments

Clinics were held at the Latrobe Community Health Service in Morwell in 2017. A total of 254 children were seen at the clinics, where they underwent ultrasound testing of blood vessels and simple lung function testing (only in those aged more than 3 years). These tests, analysed together with answers to questions on areas such as the child’s whereabouts during the fire, can help us to know whether exposure to more mine fire smoke could have influenced blood vessel health or lung function. The second round of clinical testing took place in 2021 where 167 children came to our clinic at Federation University Churchill. To get back on the “3 year cycle” (2020 clinics were delayed until 2021 because of COVID-19), we hope to conduct our third round of clinical testing in late 2023.

A young Hazelwood Health Study participant undergoing "FOT" testing

A young Hazelwood Health Study participant undergoing Ultrasound testing

Families enrolled in the ELF study have now had the opportunity to attend three annual “Thank You” events  at Tribes Playcentre in Morwell, where they were treated to a free afternoon of fun, refreshments and entertainment!

Study Findings                                                         

December 2020 - Study Report - Latrobe Early Life Follow-up Cohort Study Volume 5
December 2019 - Research Summary - GP visits and medication use amongst young children exposed to the mine fire smoke
December 2019 - Research Summary - Monthly diary summaries 
May 2019 - Research Summary - Updated analysis of birth outcomes in the Latrobe ELF Cohort
May 2019 - Research Summary - Exposure to mine fire smoke and the risk of pregnancy-related symptoms
February 2019 - Study Report - Latrobe Early Life Follow-up Cohort Study Volume 4
December 2018 – Research Summary – Birth outcomes using anonymous Victorian Perinatal Data Collection Records
October 2018 – Study Report - Latrobe Early Life Follow-up Cohort Study Volume 3
October 2018 – Research Summary – Indicators of lung and blood vessel function three years after the fire
July 2018 - Study Report - Latrobe Early Life Follow-up Cohort Study Volume 2
January 2018 – Research Summary – Latrobe ELF Cohort Study Volume 1

Latest News                                                               

1 June 2021 – ELF Study Newsletter
1 May 2020 – ELF Study Newsletter
29 October 2018 – First findings focusing on children’s lung and blood vessel health released
2 February 2018 – Researchers study pregnant women and their children
2 February 2018 – Smoke from mine fire did not harm pregnant mothers and baby health
1 February 2018 – Health of babies investigated
1 February 2018 – Study finds no impacts of smoke from mine fire on pregnancy or the birth of babies
2 May 2017 – ELF Study clinical assessments underway
8 June 2017 – Latrobe Valley children helping the next generation

Want to find out more?
We would love to hear from you! You can get in touch with us to find out more about the study by calling the Latrobe ELF study support line on 1800 322 102 or emailing us at

Our Partners

Acknowledgement to Country

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders and Traditional Owners of the land where our Study teams are based, particularly the Gunaikurnai peoples of Gippsland.