Gloucester residents' lung function tested

GLOUCESTER residents are having their lung capacity tested and recorded as part of an ongoing project to monitor the impact of coal mining on their health.

Fifty residents have had the tests to date, which also measure blood pressure and oxygen saturation.

The tests will be performed every six to eight months during the operating life of several mining projects.

‘‘We are gathering baseline data at the moment, which we will build on and compare over time,’’ said Robyn Dugas, who is one of two nurses conducting the tests.

The study, which is not supported by NSW Health, is being assisted by the Gloucester-Stroud Preservation Society and the Gloucester Residents in Partnership groups.

Singleton GP Tuan Au, who is conducting a similar study involving school students who live in the Singleton area, is also assisting.

Residents from Queensland, who are also affected by coal mining, have inquired about the Gloucester and Singleton projects.

‘‘Basically communities are taking these things into their own hands because governments won’t help them,’’ Ms Dugas said.

‘‘We have come across some very sad stories in our community.

‘‘Some people are saying it’s too late to help them.’’

Ms Dugas said she hoped the data could be used for a wider research project about the impact of mining on human health.

‘‘Ideally, we would like someone to correlate data we are gathering in our community, and put it to the government,’’ she said.

It was also hoped that the current project could be extended.

It was hoped it could include sound testing and fine particle testing.

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