LONG, DUSTY ROAD: Residents in Hendon have been waiting four years to see action on their roads.
LONG, DUSTY ROAD: Residents in Hendon have been waiting four years to see action on their roads.

Doctors confirmed effects of dust in Hendon... 4 years ago

DOCTORS and medical specialists have confirmed on eight separate accounts the adverse medical affects of dust inhalation on Hendon residents, but still nothing is being done.

Eight medical certificates detail serious health conditions such as asthma, emphysema and rhinosinitus that are aggravated by dust.

The certificates were given to the Southern Downs Regional Council in early 2014 with the plea to improve residential roads in the village.

"Anything that reduces the environmental exposure to dust, such as sealing the road, will contribute to his health," one certificate reads.

But four years on, the roads remain unsealed.

 

An excerpt from a collection of medical certificates provided to the former Southern Downs Regional Council in 2014. The Council says it had planned road improvements in Hendon.
An excerpt from a collection of medical certificates provided to the former Southern Downs Regional Council in 2014. The Council says it had planned road improvements in Hendon. Marian Faa

A submission to the council's 2018-19 budget revealed one of the eight residents has since died due to health issues that were aggravated by dust.

Others have moved away to seek relief from the "endless" air dust kicked up by passing cars and trucks.

Hendon resident William (Bill) Davison said the need for sealed roads was greater than ever, with increased "tradie traffic" and trucks passing through the town.

Suffering from emphysema, 72-year-old Mr Davison said the dust blew "straight through" his timber house.

"My wife has basically been dusting this place out every day for eight years, and the longer I am here the more I am going to be affected," he said.

"It's in the air and we are breathing it in every single day."

 

Anne Rigbye stands outside her house on Allora St in Hendon, where dust is causing serious health problems.
Anne Rigbye stands outside her house on Allora St in Hendon, where dust is causing serious health problems. Jonno Colfs

Mr Davison's health has deteriorated, and while dust isn't solely to blame, he said it was a contributing factor.

Allora St resident Ann Rigbye said Hendon citizens were also crippled with high electricity bills.

"The cost associated in being forced to use air conditioning is massive," Mrs Rigbye said.

Condamine Medical Centre doctor Lynton Hudson said dust inhalation could aggravate lung and respiratory problems like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

"It can cause irritation in someone who has an underlying problem with their lungs. It certainly can set off asthma."

Dr Hudson said he wasn't aware of local cases where dust exposure was the primary cause of health problems.

But the doctors' reports have not led to action, despite promises made by the previous council that three major residential roads would be sealed by 2016.

Trucks stir up dust on unsealed roads, causing health complications for Hendon residents.
Trucks stir up dust on unsealed roads, causing health complications for Hendon residents.

A SDRC spokeswoman said the council welcomed the residents' submission, saying a project to extend bitumen seals on some Hendon roads had been proposed in the council's Indicative Four Year Capital Plan.

"But this plan is subject annually to Council's Budget Review Process," the spokeswoman said.

"Council has limited funds available for the maintenance of the region's road network, and must prioritise projects based upon a number of conditions, including the traffic volume of the road."

The council is under no obligation to seal the roads, the spokeswoman said.

Dr Hudson said the council were doing a "pretty good job" of sealing roads in front of houses and dust inhalation was not a common complaint among the general population.


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