The Latrobe ELF Study

Active recruitment for the Early Life Follow-up (ELF) stream of the Hazelwood Health Study finished in November 2016, with 571 families completing entry level questionnaires. We hope that a high percentage of the enrolled children will continue with us on the study’s journey over the next few years!

Latest News                                                        

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

Study Findings                                                  

December 2018 – Research Summary – Birth outcomes using anonymous Victorian Perinatal Data Collection Records
October 2018 – Research Summary – Indicators of lung and blood vessel function three years after the fire
January 2018 – Research Summary – Latrobe ELF Cohort Study Volume 1
January 2018 – Latrobe Early Life Follow up Cohort Study Volume 1

Background to the ELF Study                                                        

What is the study about?

The Latrobe ELF Study is part of the Hazelwood Health Study 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 will look 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.

Participation in the study will involve completion of a questionnaire, a monthly tick-box record of whether your child was unwell, providing a small dust and soil sample from your home and your child participating in simple lung, heart and blood vessel checks (from 2017).

Clinics were held at the Latrobe Community Health Service in Morwell in 2017. 254 children were seen at the clinics, where the 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. These clinical tests will be repeated in 2020, and will include children who were too young to perform the tests in 2017.

Families enrolled in the ELF study are still adding to collected data by completing monthly symptoms surveys. These families were invited to a “Thank You” event in November 2017 at Tribes Playcentre in Morwell, where they were treated to a free afternoon of fun, refreshments and entertainment!

Interested in joining the study or 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 [email protected].

More information is provided in the Latrobe ELF study information sheet and consent form.