Health Minister has faith in health info

State Health Minister David Davis is maintaining there will be no long-term health effects as a result of the smoky conditions engulfing Morwell and the Latrobe Valley.

Mr Davis said he had “absolute faith” in the capacity of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr Rosemary Lester whose comments he based his reassurances on.

“The chief health officer is an expert in these matters,” Mr Davis said.

“She has a team of scientists who support her… national and international literature is the basis for her advice and it’s clear the levels of pollutants are not at levels that would provide those sorts of concerns.”

Mr Davis said more than 200 people had so far visited the medical drop-in centre set up late last week at Ambulance Victoria, Saskia Way, Morwell.

He said blood tests had been conducted on residents concerned about carbon monoxide in the air and “not one case” presented a level of concern.

The Express reported last week Monash University researcher Dr Martine Dennekamp said there were few studies which looked at the long-term health effects of smoke; and earlier this week, leading respiratory disease lawyer Steve Plunkett advised residents to document their health problems in case medical issues arose years down the track.

In response to questions about whether an inquiry into the health impacts of the smoke would be conducted, Mr Davis said the chief health officer typically conducted reviews on major health incidents and this incident would be “no different”.

“No one’s pretending for a moment this is easy. No one’s pretending it’s not difficult to manage,” he said.

“I would say very clearly, the government and the key officials that have got responsibility are doing everything they can to support Morwell.”

The Express has requested the Department of Health provide a list of studies it has drawn on to support the notion there will be no long-term health impacts as a result of the smoke crisis.