Effects of volcanic air pollution on health

ArticleinThe Lancet 357(9251):164 · February 2001with 888 Reads 
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Abstract
Dec 18, 2000, Mexico’s Popocatapetl volcano began to spew hot rocks, and 41 000 people were advised to leave the area. It is thought unwise for anyone to stray closer than 24 km. Apart from deaths and injuries caused by destructive explosions and by pyroclastic flows and mud flows when volcanoes erupt,1 the acute health impacts of volcanic activity are usually discussed with reference to ash falls downwind2 and gas concentrations on and near active volcanoes3 or in geothermal areas.4 However, there is increasing evidence that near-surface volcanic air pollution may occur more than 1400 km downwind of an eruption5 or quiet degassing activity,6,7 and that such events pose acute health hazards.8 The most significant documented volcanic airpollution event in Europe was in 1783 when Laki in Iceland erupted, generating SO2 at a rate 17 times greater than industrial emissions for Europe as a whole today (1·7 million tonnes per day during the first 6 weeks of the eruption). In addition, huge amounts of hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acid were produced during this period. The resulting “dry fog” was present nearly constantly during late June, July, and August of 1783 in Britain, Scandinavia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy, where it shrouded the sun and moon, reduced visibility, affected human health, and withered vegetation.5,6,8 Ambient pollutant concentrations, particularly of SO2, were higher than the odour threshold, were much higher on occasions, and persisted for months. Exposure to the polluted air caused illness in many rural parts of Europe, as indicated by contemporary documentary accounts found in Britain, France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Norway. Symptoms included eye sensitivity and inflammation, asthma, lung and airway resistance and irritation, bronchitis, sore throat, emphysema, and headache, and possibly fume fever (plus the odour of SO2).8 Many of these symptoms match those described in the toxicological and epidemiological papers as reactions to air-borne particles9 and gaseous compounds of sulphur, chlorine, fluorine, and ammonia,10 all of which may have been present in the dry fog. Air-pollution concentrations during this 18th century event were at least as great as those recorded during modern urban air-pollution episodes, and these conditions probably persisted or recurred throughout Europe during the summer of 1783.

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  • ... In Iceland itself, around 21% of the human population and 75% of livestock perished (9), and parish records suggest that mortality in England in the summer of 1783 was 10-20% above the 51-y moving mean (8,12). Several historical accounts of increased mortality rates and/or respiratory disorders are also found in France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Sweden (7,8,(13)(14)(15). ...
  • ... In Iceland, at least half of the livestock died off, and onefifth of the population died (Hansell and Oppenheimer, 2004;Tweed, 2012). In Europe and Alaska famine disasters were described, caused by colder climate and acid rain (Jacoby et al., 1999;Durand and Grattan, 2001;Hansell and Oppenheimer, 2004). In England, 20,000 were estimated to have died from the indirect effects of the Laki eruption (Witham and Oppenheimer, 2004). ...
    Thesis
    Full-text available
    Air pollution has adverse effects on human health. The respiratory system is the most exposed and short-term changes in air pollution levels have been associated with worsening of asthma symptoms and increased rates of heart attacks and stroke. Air pollution in cities due to traffic is the major concern, as many people are exposed. However, natural sources of air pollution such as natural dust storms and ash from volcanic eruptions can also compromise human health. Exposure to volcanic eruptions and other natural hazards can also threaten mental health. Air pollution has not been extensively studied in Iceland, in spite of the presence of several natural pollution sources and a sizeable car fleet in the capital area. The aim of this thesis was to determine if there was a measurable effect on health which could be attributed to air pollution in Iceland. This aim was pursued along two paths; time series studies using register data aimed to determine the short-term association between daily variation in air pollution and on one hand daily dispensing of anti-asthma medication or the daily number of emergency room visits and emergency admissions for cardiopulmonary causes and stroke. The other method was to investigate if exposure to the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption was associated with adverse health outcomes, either at the end of the eruption, or 6 months later. In paper I time series regression was used to investigate the association between the daily number of individuals who were dispensed anti-asthma medication and levels of the air pollutants particle matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 10 μm (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) during the preceding days. For the study period 2006-9, there were significant associations between the daily mean of PM10 and H2S and the sales of anti-asthma medication 3 to 5 days later. Giving the exposure as the highest daily one-hour mean gave more significant results. Air pollution negatively affected the respiratory health of asthma medication users, prompting them to refill their prescriptions before they had originally intended to. In paper II the main outcome was the number of individuals seeking help at Landspitali University Hospital emergency room for cardiopulmonary disease or stroke. Time series regression was used to identify the lag that gave the best predictive power, and models were run for data for 2003-9 iv pollutants PM10, NO2, and O3. O3 was significantly associated with the number of emergency hospital visits the same day and two days later in all models, and both for men, women and the elderly. Only emergency hospital visits of the elderly were associated with NO2, and there were no associations with PM10. In paper III the aim was to investigate if the health effects of PM10 were affected by the addition of volcanic ash from the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull and 2011 eruption of Grímsvötn to PM10 in the capital area. Time series regression of emergency hospital visits and PM10 before and after the Eyjafjallajökull eruption showed that the effect tended to be higher after the eruption, but the results were not significant. Analysis with a binary indicator for high levels of PM10 from volcanic ash and other sources showed that volcanic ash was associated with increased emergency hospital visits. There were no associations with high levels of PM10 from other sources. In paper IV, the health of the population exposed to the ongoing eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 was investigated thoroughly. Lung function in adults was similar to that in a reference group from the capital area, but smoking was more common in the reference group. Many from the exposed group reported sensory organ irritation symptoms and symptoms of stress and psychological morbidity, especially those with underlying diseases. Paper V report the results from a questionnaire study which was carried out six months after the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. The study population comprised a cohort of South Icelanders exposed to the eruption to varying degrees and a reference group from North Iceland. Respiratory and eye symptoms were more common in South Icelanders than in the reference group, after adjusting for demographic characteristics. Psychological morbidity rates had declined considerably. In the studies, we found that urban air pollution and natural particles have short-term effects on anti-asthma medication dispensing and emergency room visits and hospital admissions. Exposure to natural particles in the form of volcanic dust was associated with increased respiratory symptoms in a very exposed population. There were indications that volcanic ash particles were associated with increased emergency hospital visits in the following days.
  • ... Seawater spray, soil dust re-suspension and organic matter decay are among the most discussed natural sources. Volcanic activity may also modify the natural atmospheric fluxes of chemicals (Cadle, 1980), and may in turn have a strong impact on both the local environment and on human health (Notcutt and Davies, 1989; Durand and Grattan, 2001; Delmelle et al., 2002). Mt. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Major ion content of 37 wet-only rainwater samples collected on the southern flank of Mount Etna volcano was investigated. Measured pH values range from 3.80 to 7.22 and display a positive correlation with Ca2+ and an inverse correlation with NO3 –, suggesting that anthropogenic NOx are the most effective acidifying agents while Ca, likely as solid CaCO3, is the prevailing proton acceptor. Na/Cl ratios indicate a dominant marine origin for both species, while K, mg and Ca contents point to additional sources (soil dust, fertilisers etc.). Nitrate and sulphate concentrations display a nearly constant ratio indicating a common anthropogenic origin, and only a few samples are characterised by sulphate excess. The analysis of time series reveals a good correlation between the excess sulphate in rainwater and SO2 fluxes from the summit craters plume. Non sea salt chloride contents show also a significant correlation with volcanic activity indicating a magmatic sulphur and chloride contribution to rainwater. Meteoric flux estimations point to a prevailing magmatic origin for sulphur in the collected rainwaters while sea spray is the main source of chlorine.
  • ... It has been however proposed that the deposition of volcanogenic volatiles around active volcanoes may potentially impact the surrounding environment and biosphere, giving rise to damages to vegetation, crops and livestocks (Delmelle et al. 2002; Thordarson and Self 2003 ), anomalous air concentrations of sulphur dioxide and aerosols downwind volcanic craters (Sutton and Elias 1993; Allen et al. 2000), acid rains (Harding and Miller 1982; Johnson and Parnell 1986), and changes in the chemistry of soils (Delmelle et al. 2003). Concerns have also been raised on the potential effects of volcanic gas emissions on human health (Baxter et al. 1982; Durand and Grattan 2001). A major topic of this " environmental volcanology " is the study of wet deposition of the volcanic volatiles around active volcanoes. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Bulk atmospheric deposition of major cations (Na, K, Ca, Mg) and anions (Cl, F, SO4) were measured at 15 sites around an active volcano, Mount Etna, from 2001 to 2003. Their composition indicates several natural sources, among which deposition of plume-derived volcanogenic gas compounds is prevalent for F, Cl and S. Plume-derived acidic compounds are also responsible for the prevailing acidic composition of the samples collected on the summit of the volcano (pH in the 2.45–5.57 range). Cation species have complex origin, including deposition of plume volcanogenic ash and aerosols and soil-dust wind re-suspension of either volcanic or carbonate sedimentary rocks. Variation of the deposition rates during the March 2001–March 2003 period, coupled with previous measurements from 1997 to 2000 (Appl Geochem 16:985–1000, 2001), were compared with the variation of SO2 flux, volcanic activity and rainfall. The deposition rate was mainly controlled by rainfall. Commonly, about 0.1–0.9% of HF, HCl and SO2 emitted by the summit crater's plume were deposited around the volcano. We estimate that ∼2Gg of volcanogenic sulphur were deposited over the Etnean area during the 2002–2003 flank eruption, at an average rate of ∼24Mgday−1 which is two orders of magnitude higher than that typical of quiescent degassing phases.
  • ... They are defined as catastrophic events with atmospheric, geological or hydrological origins and include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, tsunamis, floods and drought (79). Perhaps the most famous example of a natural disaster that had tremendous human consequences is the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, which led to the destruction of Pompeii (19). Major natural disasters of the modern era include the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, which caused over 60 000 deaths. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    The consequences of natural disasters on the people living in the Americas are often amplified by socio-economic conditions. This risk may be increased by climate-related changes. The public health consequences of natural disasters include fatalities as well as an increased risk of communicable diseases. Many of these diseases are zoonotic and foodborne diseases. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the importance of natural disasters for the Americas and to emphasise the contribution of veterinary public health (VPH) to the management of zoonotic and foodborne disease risks. An analysis was conducted of natural disasters that occurred in the Americas between 2004 and 2008. Five cases studies illustrating the contributions of VPH in situations of disaster are presented. The data shows that natural disasters, particularly storms and floods, can create very important public health problems. Central America and the Caribbean, particularly Haiti, presented a higher risk than the other areas of the Americas. Two priority areas of technical cooperation are recommended for this region, namely: reducing the risk of leptospirosis and other vector-borne disease outbreaks related to floods and hurricanes and improving food safety. The contribution of different disciplines and sectors in disaster preparedness and response is of paramount importance to minimise morbidity and mortality.
  • ... Fluoride (either as hydrogen fluoride, particulate fluorides, or fluorine gas) is released to the atmosphere by natural sources such as volcanoes and by a number of anthropogenic sources. Volcanic activity historically has been a major contributor of HF and other contaminants to the atmosphere in some parts of the world, with some volcanoes emitting 5 tons of HF per day (Nicaragua) or as much as 15 million tons during a several month eruption (Iceland) (Durand and Grattan 2001;Grattan et al. 2003;Stone 2004). In North America, anthropogenic sources of airborne fluoride include coal combustion by electrical utilities and other entities, aluminum production plants, phosphate fertilizer plants, chemical production facilities, steel mills, magnesium plants, and manufacturers of brick and structural clay (reviewed by ATSDR 2003). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    A review of the literature of the element fluorine and its bonded-form, fluoride, was undertaken. Generally regarded as safe, an expanding body of literature reveals that fluoride's toxicity has been unappreciated, un-scrutinized, and hidden for over 70 years. The context for the literature search and review was an environmental climate-change study, which demonstrated widespread fluoride contamination by smokestack emissions from coal-fired electricity-generating plants. The objective of this review is to educate and inform regarding the ubiquitous presence and harmful nature of this now ever-present corrosive and reactive toxin. Methods include examination of national health agency reviews, primarily the National Research Council (NRC), Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR), standard medical toxicology references, text books, as well as reports and documents from both private and public research as well as consumer-based NGOs. Study criteria were chosen for relevancy to the subject of the toxicity of fluoride. Fluoride is the extreme electron scavenger, the most corrosive of all elements, as well as the most-reactive. Fluoride appears to attack living tissues, via several mechanisms. Fluoride renders strong evidence that it is a non-biological chemical, demonstrating no observed beneficial function or role in organic chemistry, beyond use as a pesticide or insecticide. Fluorine has a strong role to play in industry, having been utilized extensively in metals, plastics, paints, aluminium, steel, and uranium production. Due to its insatiable appetite for calcium, fluorine and fluorides likely represent a form of chemistry that is incompatible with biological tissues and organ system functions. Based on an analysis of the affects of fluoride demonstrated consistently in the literature, safe levels have not been determined nor standardized. Mounting evidence presents conflicting value to its presence in biological settings and applications. Evidence examined in this review of the literature, and specifically the recent report by the National Research Council (NRC), offer strong support for an immediate reconsideration concerning risk vs benefit. Consensus recommendations from several sources are presented.
  • ... Pollution is a major issue affecting human, animal, and plant health worldwide. Although pollution can be natural, such as volcanic ashes 1 , human activities are the primary cause of most pollution. Anthropogenic activities are contaminating soil, water, and air, which directly or indirectly lead to almost 20 million premature human deaths 2 and decimate billions of other forms of life annually. ...
  • ... Effects include damage to vegetation, crops and livestock [Delmelle et al., 2002; Thordarson and Self, 2003], SO 2 and aerosols downwind from volcanic craters above background values [Sutton and Elias, 1993; Allen et al., 2000], acid rain [Harding and Miller, 1982; Johnson and Parnell, 1986], and changes in the chemistry of soils downwind from the emission point. Concern about effects on human health has also been expressed [Baxter et al., 1982], and paroxysmal volcanic activity is suggested as having produced in the past severe effects on air quality and hence on human health in Europe, even at distances of more than 1000 km [Durand and Grattan, 2001]. Despite this documented evidence, however, the mechanisms and extent of volatile deposition from tropospheric volcanic plumes are still uncertain, and have been properly assessed in only a few cases [e.g., Delmelle et al., 2001 Delmelle et al., , 2002. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    This paper reports the use of diffusive tubes in determining HF, HCl, and SO2 in the volcanic plume of Mount Etna in an attempt to highlight the potential of this method in studying volcanoes. In a first application a network of 18 diffusive tubes was installed on Etna’s flanks, aimed at evaluating the atmospheric dispersion of the volcanic plume on a local scale. Results showed a monotonic decrease in volatile air concentrations with distance from the craters (HF from 0.15 to <0.003 mmol m 3, HCl from 2 to <0.01 mmol m 3, and SO2 from 11 to 0.04 mmol m 3), revealing the prevalently volcanic contribution. Matching of SO2/HCl and HCl/HF volatile ratios with contemporaneous measurements at the summit craters validated the use of diffusive tubes in tracing the chemical features of a volcanic plume from remote locations. A first tentative assessment of dry deposition rates of volcanogenic acidic gases was also made, yielding 2.5–74 t d 1 (SO2), 0.6–17 t d 1 (HCl), and 0.02–0.6 t d 1 (HF) and revealing the potential environmental impact of gas emissions. In a second experiment, carried out during the recent October 2002 to February 2003 eruption of Etna, diffusive tubes provided a continuous record of the chemical composition of the eruptive plume from a ‘‘safe’’ distance of 1 km from the vents, thus considerably decreasing the risks involved in sampling. This highlighted a clear time decrease in SO2 concentrations and SO2/HCl ratios, which was interpreted as due to progressive exhaustion of volatile degassing and eruption energy.
  • ... Consistency in these findings suggests that sulfurous volcanic emissions are associated with acute health effects and illnesses in exposed populations. The 1783 effusive eruption of Iceland's Laki volcano produced vog-like pollution over Europe, and medical records documented eye sensitivity, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, rhinorrhea, headache, and asthma-like exacerbations in the population [9]. In 2005, workers returned to Japan's Miyakejima island after evacuation due to eruption of the island's volcano. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Eruptive activity at the Kīlauea volcano (Hawai`i, USA) has increased since 2008 resulting in volcanic air pollution (vog) at levels exceeding the national air quality standard for sulfur dioxide. Previous investigations during lower vog levels found adverse cardiorespiratory effects in the residents. The purpose of this 2012 survey was to reassess and compare the impact of the increased volcanic activity on population health. Prevalence of cardiorespiratory signs, symptoms, and diseases was estimated in vog exposed and unexposed communities, and descriptions of perceived health and environmental effects were collected door-to-door. Vog exposure was significantly associated with increased odds of self-reported cough, phlegm, rhinorrhea, sore/dry throat, shortness of breath, sinus congestion, continual wheezing, eye and skin irritation, and diagnosed hypertension. Field measurements identified significantly higher average systolic and diastolic blood pressures () and lower blood oxygen saturation (). Half of the participants perceived that Kīlauea’s intensified eruption had negatively affected their health with reports of financial impacts from degradation of agriculture and livestock. Relatively stronger magnitudes of health effects were associated with the higher exposure to vog. Public concerns remain about attributed effects of the ongoing eruption. Enhanced public health efforts are recommended at Kīlauea and other degassing volcanoes worldwide.
  • ... The extreme food shortfall through the harvest failure of 1816 would have been felt in 1817. Although it cannot be examined in this paper because the data are not directly available, the morbidity of the community could also have been impacted during this time with respect to chronic respiratory health issues from the volcanic air pollution as represented by DVI (Durand and Grattan, 2001;Pope III and Dockery, 2006). Researchers studying the Laki fissure eruptions (Iceland) in 1783-84 found contemporary descriptions of morbidity such as "headaches, eye irritation, decreased lung function, and asthma" . ...
  • ... The extreme food shortfall through the harvest failure of 1816 would have been felt in 1817. Although it cannot be examined in this paper because the data is not directly available, the morbidity of the community could also have been impacted during this time with respect to chronic respiratory health issues from the volcanic air pollution as represented by DVI (Durand and Grattan, 2001;Grattan, Durant, et al., 2003;Pope III and Dockery, 2006). However, researchers studying the health impacts of the Laki fissure eruptions (Iceland) in 1783-84, found contemporary descriptions of morbidity such as "headaches, eye irritation, decreased lung function, and asthma" . ...
  • ... This chapter has demonstrated that a notable mortality crisis coincided with a major volcanic eruption, and established that reasonable grounds exist to associate the two events with some confidence. In many areas of the world, air pollution is a serious problem -one need only consider the proximity of many rapidly growing cities and volcanic centres to conclude that, regardless of the events of 1783, volcanic gases will inevitably wield a profound influence upon human health in the future (Durand & Grattan, 2001). ...
    Article
    Volcanic eruptions represent a significant source of volatile gases that are harmful to human health. This chapter reviews and develops current understanding of the human health response to volcanogenic pollution and dry fog events; in particular it explores the health impact of the gases from the Laki fissure eruption, and presents data that point to a significant increase in the national death rate in England coincident with the early phases of the eruption. It is noted that many common symptoms of severe exposure to air pollution can be linked to the dry fog of 1783; these included difficulty in breathing, eye and skin irritation, headaches, loss of appetite and tiredness. Such multitudes are indisposed by fevers in this country, that farmers have with difficulty gathered in their harvest, the labourers having been almost every day carried out of the field incapable of work and many die. (Cowper Letters, 1783)
  • ... More than a quarter of Iceland's population subsequently died from starvation and the survivors suffered from growths, scurvy, dysentery, and ailments of the heart and lungs (Steingrímsson 1998). The aerosol produced in the atmosphere resulted in a "dry fog" which hung over Britain, Scandinavia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy during the summer of 1783, affecting human health and withering vegetation (Durand and Grattan 2001). The aerosol also caused severe climatic perturbations. ...
    Chapter
    Full-text available
    Volcanic gases are insidious and often overlooked hazards. The effects of volcanic gases on life may be direct, such as asphyxiation, respiratory diseases and skin burns; or indirect, e.g. regional famine caused by the cooling that results from the presence of sulfate aerosols injected into the stratosphere during explosive eruptions. Although accounting for fewer fatalities overall than some other forms of volcanic hazards, history has shown that volcanic gases are implicated frequently in small-scale fatal events in diverse volcanic and geothermal regions. In order to mitigate risks due to volcanic gases, we must identify the challenges. The first relates to the difficulty of monitoring and hazard communication: gas concentrations may be elevated over large areas and may change rapidly with time. Developing alert and early warning systems that will be communicated in a timely fashion to the population is logistically difficult. The second challenge focuses on education and understanding risk. An effective response to warnings requires an educated population and a balanced weighing of conflicting cultural beliefs or economic interests with risk. In the case of gas hazards, this may also mean having the correct personal protection equipment, knowing where to go in case of evacuation and being aware of increased risk under certain sets of meteorological conditions. In this chapter we review several classes of gas hazard, the risks associated with them, potential risk mitigation strategies and ways of communicating risk. We discuss carbon dioxide flows and accumulations, including lake overturn events which have accounted for the greatest number of direct fatalities, the hazards arising from the injection of sulfate aerosol into the troposphere and into the stratosphere. A significant hazard facing the UK and northern Europe is a “Laki”-style eruption in Iceland, which will be associated with increased risk of respiratory illness and mortality due to poor air quality when gases and aerosols are dispersed over Europe. We discuss strategies for preparing for a future Laki style event and implications for society.
  • ... We emphasize that Kilauea's major emission is SO 2 gas, similar to Miyakejima Island, Japan (Iwasawa et al., 2015;Ishigami et al., 2008), but different from the volcanic ash released during the eruptions of Mount Saint Helens, Mount Etna, or Eyjafjallajokull (Bernstein et al., 1986;Newhall and Fruchter, 1986;Gudmundsson, 2011;Lombardo et al., 2013;Monick et al., 2013), the mixture of CO2 and radon released in fumarolic fields in the Azores (Linhares et al., 2015;Amaral et al., 2006;Amaral and Rodrigues, 2007)or H 2 S released from geothermal vents in Rotorua, New Zealand (Durand and Grattan, 2001;Bates et al., 2013Bates et al., , 2015. Kilauea's estimated SO 2 output was 0.5-1 million metric tons (0.5-1 Tg) per year during this cross-sectional study, and increased further beginning in 2008 (Fig. 2). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Background: Kilauea Volcano on the Island of Hawai'i has erupted continuously since 1983, releasing approximately 300-12000metrictons per day of sulfur dioxide (SO2). SO2 interacts with water vapor to produce an acidic haze known locally as "vog". The combination of wind speed and direction, inversion layer height, and local terrain lead to heterogeneous and variable distribution of vog over the island, allowing study of respiratory effects associated with chronic vog exposure. Objectives: We characterized the distribution and composition of vog over the Island of Hawai'i, and tested the hypotheses that chronic vog exposure (SO2 and acid) is associated with increased asthma prevalence, respiratory symptoms, and reduced pulmonary function in Hawai'i Island schoolchildren. Methods: We compiled data of volcanic emissions, wind speed, and wind direction over Hawai'i Island since 1992. Community-based researchers then measured 2- to 4-week integrated concentrations of SO2 and fine particulate mass and acidity in 4 exposure zones, from 2002 to 2005, when volcanic SO2 emissions averaged 1600metrictons per day. Concurrently, community researchers recruited schoolchildren in the 4th and 5th grades of 25 schools in the 4 vog exposure zones, to assess determinants of lung health, respiratory symptoms, and asthma prevalence. Results: Environmental data suggested 4 different vog exposure zones with SO2, PM2.5, and particulate acid concentrations (mean±s.d.) as follows: 1) Low (0.3±0.2ppb, 2.5±1.2μg/m(3), 0.6±1.1nmolH+/m(3)), 2) Intermittent (1.6±1.8ppb, 2.8±1.5μg/m(3), 4.0±6.6nmolH+/m(3)), 3) Frequent (10.1±5.2ppb, 4.8±1.9μg/m(3), 4.3±6.7nmolH+/m(3)), and 4) Acid (1.2±0.4ppb, 7.2±2.3μg/m(3), 25.3±17.9nmolH+/m(3)). Participants (1957) in the 4 zones differed in race, prematurity, maternal smoking during pregnancy, environmental tobacco smoke exposure, presence of mold in the home, and physician-diagnosed asthma. Multivariable analysis showed an association between Acid vog exposure and cough and strongly suggested an association with FEV1/FVC <0.8, but not with diagnosis of asthma, or chronic persistent wheeze or bronchitis in the last 12months. Conclusions: Hawai'i Island's volcanic air pollution can be very acidic, but contains few co-contaminants originating from anthropogenic sources of air pollution. Chronic exposure to acid vog is associated with increased cough and possibly with reduced FEV1/FVC, but not with asthma or bronchitis. Further study is needed to better understand how volcanic air pollution interacts with host and environmental factors to affect respiratory symptoms, lung function, and lung growth, and to determine acute effects of episodes of increased emissions.
  • ... Exposure to volcanic emissions may worsen asthma. Many residents on the big island of Hawaii had reported breathing difficulties, headaches and watery eyes after being exposed to vog from the active Kilauea volcano (Durand and Grattan, 2001). A study of 10,000 government workers in Anchorage, Alaska noted that asthma medical visits increased significantly following an eruption of a nearby volcano in August 1992 (Choudhury et al., 1997). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Much research on the health effects of outdoor air pollution has been published in the last decade. The goal of this review is to concisely summarize a wide range of the recent research on health effects of many types of outdoor air pollution. A review of the health effects of major outdoor air pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur and nitrogen oxides, acid gases, metals, volatile organics, solvents, pesticides, radiation and bioaerosols is presented. Numerous studies have linked atmospheric pollutants to many types of health problems of many body systems including the respiratory, cardiovascular, immunological, hematological, neurological and reproductive/ developmental systems. Some studies have found increases in respiratory and cardiovascular problems at outdoor pollutant levels well below standards set by such agencies as the US EPA and WHO. Air pollution is associated with large increases in medical expenses, morbidity and is estimated to cause about 800,000 annual premature deaths worldwide [Cohen, A.J., Ross Alexander, H., Ostro, B., Pandey, K.D., Kryzanowski, M., Kunzail, N., et al., 2005. The global burden of disease due to outdoor air pollution. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 68: 1-7.]. Further research on the health effects of air pollution and air pollutant abatement methods should be very helpful to physicians, public health officials, industrialists, politicians and the general public.
  • ... Developing an appropriate model for the data is a starting point. Modeling such trivariate volcanic data has been a challenge to those who wish to analyze and interpret data evidence [8]. A reason is that the variables are seemingly independent but are correlated otherwise, according to the data ( Table 1, Figures 1 and 2). ...
  • ... The volcanic emissions were mainly composed of SO 2 , the levels of which reached 80,000 tons/day during the peak period. Although emission rates of SO 2 decreased after the initial eruption, the levels remained high compared to those at Sakurajima in Japan, Kilauea in Hawai'i, and Stromboli and Etna in Italy [35][36][37][38]. Before the residents of Miyakejima returned to the island, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government established the Scientific Committee for the Assessment of Health Risks and Volcanic Activity. ...
  • ... In terms of national death rate, mortality in 1783/4 was 16.7% above trend (Wrigley and Schofield 1989), equivalent to approximately 30,000 extra deaths. The cause of this mortality increase was unclear to the original workers, but was subsequently linked to the spread of volcanogenic pollution from the Laki Craters (Durand and Grattan 2001). Further analysis of the population data set in terms of summer (July-September) mortality by Grattan et al. (2003) revealed a notable mortality crisis in the summer of 1783, which they attributed to the Laki haze. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    1783/4 has been recognised as a mortality crisis year in the population history of England. This demographic incident coincides with the Laki Craters eruption, Iceland, which began in June 1783 and fumigated many parts of Europe with volcanic gases and particles. Many reports and proxy climate records implicate the volcanic cloud in meteorological anomalies, including notably hot 1783 summer conditions in England and a severe subsequent winter. We present here a detailed analysis of the geographical and temporal trends in English mortality data, and interpret them in the light of the climatological records and observations of the pollutant cloud. We show that there were two distinct crisis periods: in August-September 1783, and January-February 1784, which together accounted for ~20,000 extra deaths. In both cases, the East of England was the worst affected region. Possible causes for the two crisis periods are considered and we conclude that the timing and magnitude of the winter mortality peak can be explained by the severe cold of January 1784. The late summer mortality followed 1–2 months after the very hot July of 1783 and may also have been related to the weather, with the time lag reflecting the relatively slow spread of enteric disease or the contraction of malaria. However, it is hard to explain the entire late summer anomaly by these high temperature causes. We therefore consider that fine acid aerosol and/or gases in the volcanic haze may also have contributed to the unusual August-September mortality. Given that complex radiative and dynamical effects of the volcanic cloud are implicated in the climatic anomalies in 1783–4, it is likely that the Laki Craters eruption did play a role in the English mortality crises of the same period.
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    Millions of people reside near active volcanoes, yet data are limited on effects to human health. The Kilauea Volcano is the largest point source for sulfur dioxide in the United States, releasing air pollution on nearby communities since 1983. : The objectives of this study were to provide the first population-based epidemiological estimates and qualitative descriptions of cardiorespiratory health effects associated with volcanic air pollution. An environmental-epidemiological design was used. Exposure levels of Kilauea's air pollutants were determined by environmental sampling. Prevalence estimates of cardiorespiratory health effects in adults were measured (N = 335) and compared between an exposed and nonexposed reference community. Descriptions of the human-environment interaction with the long-standing eruption were recorded from informants in the natural setting. Ambient and indoor concentrations of volcanic air pollution were above the World Health Organization's recommended exposure levels. There were statistically significant increased odds associated with exposure for self-reported cough, phlegm, rhinorrhea, sore and dry throat, sinus congestion, wheezing, eye irritation, and diagnosed bronchitis. Thirty-five percent of the informants perceived that their health was affected by the eruption, mainly current and former smokers and those with chronic respiratory disease. Hypotheses were supported regarding particulate air pollution and the association with adverse cardiovascular functioning. This emerging environmental health issue is under continuing investigation.
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    Volcanic eruptions are frequently invoked as the mechanism responsible for changes observed in the archaeological and environmental record. This paper argues that the evidence for this assumption is slight and that while there are examples of this, they are rare. Several case studies are discussed which illustrate the complex nature of the relationship between human cultures and volcanic eruptions and it is suggested that volcanic activity frequently acts as a stimulus rather than a brake to cultural development.
  • Article
    Following a volcanic eruption in 2000, high concentrations of ambient sulfur dioxide (SO2) are still observed on Miyakejima, Japan despite the reversal 2 years ago of the ban on residents living on the island. This study examines the association between current levels of volcanic SO2 and the incidence of acute subjective symptoms in volunteers on Miyakejima. The authors conducted a follow-up study on 611 healthy volunteers, on a person-hour basis (28 413 person-hours), who visited the island to provide support to residents from February to July 2005. Adverse health symptoms were measured by self-administered diary and exposure was approximated using monitoring data across 14 sites. Associations between incidence rates and increasing SO2 levels (reference (the lowest), very low, low, middle and high) were examined using Poisson regression. Hourly incidence of cough, scratchy throat, sore throat and breathlessness showed clear exposure-response relationships with SO2 concentrations. There were statistically significant risks of those symptoms at relatively low SO2 levels. Thus, rate ratios in the 0.6-2.0 ppm exposure band (vs <0.01 ppm) were: for cough, 3.4 (95% CI 1.8 to 6.6) in men and 9.8 (3.9 to 24.9) in women; for sore throat, 3.2 (1.7 to 6.2) in men and 5.8 (2.0 to 16.5) in women; and for breathlessness, 10.5 (4.2 to 26.6) in men and 18.5 (4.6 to 74.3) in women. Little evidence of SO2 effects on sputum and nasal discharge/congestion was observed in this study. Eye and skin irritations showed inconsistent results between hourly maximal and hourly mean SO2 concentrations. The authors observed strong evidence of an exposure-response relationship between volcanic SO2 and subjective acute respiratory symptoms among a healthy population on Miyakejima. The results are consistent with reports that females and non-smokers are more sensitive to irritant gas than males and smokers, respectively.
  • Article
    This paper is based on the premise that research into the environmental impact of continental flood basalt (CFB) volcanism has paid insufficient attention to the potential ecosystem damage that would result from the direct deposition of hundreds of megatons (Tg) of sulphur and other volatiles. The environmental impacts of the 1783 Laki Fissure eruption are reviewed in outline. It is shown that in a relatively brief period of volcanic activity, volatiles emitted by the eruption damaged and destroyed vegetation from the Arctic Ocean to the Mediterranean. Air pollution was so intense that human health was affected and the national death rate increased dramatically in both England and France. It is proposed that the events of 1783 may be used as a paradigm for the environmental impacts of a CFB lava flow, and the emissions of 1783 are scaled up to illustrate this point. Thus, if a Laki style event were to erupt for a year it would approach the physical scale of a single episode of the Roza flow in the Columbia River CFB and potentially yield 576 Tg of sulphur gases which could have been oxidised into approximately 945 Tg of aerosol. This could generate a tropospheric aerosol mass of approximately 708 Tg H2SO4. The ecosystem impact of the deposition of acids on this scale would be profound and, as with the actual Laki event, be continental in scale. All parts of the plant life cycle would be disrupted, including photosynthesis and fruiting. Inevitably, withthe disruption of food webs animals would also be affected. Poorly buffered inland waters would be acidified, as would Boreal soils, reducing their biodiversity. In our already polluted and interdependent world, any future event on this scale would have serious consequences for human health and trade.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The spatial structure and the progression speed of the first ash layer from the Icelandic Eyjafjallajökull volcano which reached Germany on 16/17 April is investigated from remote sensing data and with numerical simulations. The ceilometer network of the German Weather Service was able to follow the progression of the ash layer over the whole of Germany. This first ash layer turned out to be a rather shallow layer of only several hundreds of metres thickness which was oriented slantwise in the middle troposphere and which was brought downward by large-scale sinking motion over Southern Germany and the Alps. Special Raman lidar measurements, trajectory analyses and in-situ observations from mountain observatories helped to confirm the volcanic origin of the detected aerosol layer. Ultralight aircraft measurements permitted the detection of the arrival of a second major flush of volcanic material in Southern Germany. Numerical simulations with the Eulerian meso-scale model MCCM were able to reproduce the temporal and spatial structure of the ash layer. Comparisons with the ceilometer network data on 17 April and with the ultralight aircraft data on 19 April were satisfying. This is the first example of a model validation study from this ceilometer network data.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The emission of toxic gases from the soil is a hazard in geothermal regions that are also urbanized because buildings constructed on geothermal ground may be subject to the ingress of gases from the soil directly into the structure. The Rotorua geothermal field, New Zealand, is extensively urbanized but to date no studies have evaluated the extent of the ground gas hazard. The main gases emitted are hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2), both of which are highly toxic and denser than air. This paper reports preliminary findings from a study of selected buildings constructed in the gas anomaly area. Properties were investigated for evidence of ingress by H2S, CO2, and 222Rn, with a view to determine the means and rates of gas entry and the nature of any consequent hazard. H2S and CO2 were investigated using infrared active gas analysers and passive detector tubes left in place for 10-48 h. 222Rn was measured over a period of 3 months by poly-allyl diglycol carbonate sensors. Eight of the nine buildings studied were found to suffer problems with soil gases entering the indoor air through the structure. The primary means of gas entry was directly from the ground through the floors, walls, and subsurface pipes. Indoor vents were located and found emitting up to approximately 200 ppm H2S and approximately 15% CO2, concentrations high enough to present an acute respiratory hazard to persons close to the vent (e.g., children playing at floor level). In some properties, gas problems occurred despite preventative measures having been made during construction or during later renovations. Typically, these measures include the under-laying of concrete floors with a gas-proof butanol seal, under-floor ventilation systems or the installation of positive-pressure air conditioning. Recently constructed buildings (<10 years) with butanol seals were nevertheless affected by ground gas emissions, and we conclude that such measures are not always effective in the long term.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Historical records show that the A.D. 1783-1784 Laki eruption in Iceland caused severe environmental stress and posed a health hazard far beyond the borders of Iceland. Given the reasonable likelihood of such an event recurring, it is important to assess the scale on which a future eruption could impact society. We quantify the potential health effects caused by an increase in air pollution during a future Laki-style eruption using a global aerosol model together with concentration-response functions derived from current epidemiological studies. The concentration of particulate matter with diameters smaller than 2.5 µm is predicted to double across central, western, and northern Europe during the first 3 mo of the eruption. Over land areas of Europe, the current World Health Organization 24-h air quality guideline for particulate matter with diameters smaller than 2.5 µm is exceeded an additional 36 d on average over the course of the eruption. Based on the changes in particulate air pollution, we estimate that approximately 142,000 additional cardiopulmonary fatalities (with a 95% confidence interval of 52,000-228,000) could occur in Europe. In terms of air pollution, such a volcanic eruption would therefore be a severe health hazard, increasing excess mortality in Europe on a scale that likely exceeds excess mortality due to seasonal influenza.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Millions of people are potentially exposed to volcanic gases worldwide, and exposures may differ from those in anthropogenic air pollution. A systematic literature review found few primary studies relating to health hazards of volcanic gases. SO2 and acid aerosols from eruptions and degassing events were associated with respiratory morbidity and mortality but not childhood asthma prevalence or lung function decrements. Accumulations of H2S and CO2 from volcanic and geothermal sources have caused fatalities from asphyxiation. Chronic exposure to H2S in geothermal areas was associated with increases in nervous system and respiratory diseases. Some impacts were on a large scale, affecting several countries (e.g., Laki fissure eruption in Iceland in 1783-4). No studies on health effects of volcanic releases of halogen gases or metal vapors were located. More high quality collaborative studies involving volcanologists and epidemiologists are recommended.
  • Article
    Biological monitoring of exposure to gases and respirable particles is common in industry, when urine or blood samples are analysed for elevated levels of various trace elements, but this is almost unheard of in volcanology. In this work, 10 volunteers undertook 20 min of acute gas exposure downwind of fumaroles on White Island, New Zealand. Pre- and post-exposure urine samples were analysed for aluminium, arsenic, rubidium and mercury—elements which are known to be present in volcanic gases—in order to test if any may be used as markers for gas exposure. Statistically significant (p<0.025) post-exposure increases in aluminium and rubidium excretion were seen, indicating respiratory absorption during gas exposure. No significant changes were observed in the analyses of arsenic and mercury. We suggest that aluminium and possibly rubidium may be useful markers of exposure to other more hazardous gases, to which volcanologists are exposed when working without respirators near fumaroles, lava flows, or other sources of volcanic gas.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The spatial structure and the progression speed of the first ash layer from the Icelandic Eyjafjallajokull volcano which reached Germany on 16/17 April is investigated from remote sensing data and numerical simulations. The ceilometer network of the German Meteorological Service was able to follow the progression of the ash layer over the whole of Germany. This first ash layer turned out to be a rather shallow layer of only several hundreds of metres thickness which was oriented slantwise in the middle troposphere and which was brought downward by large-scale sinking motion over Southern Germany and the Alps. Special Raman lidar measurements, trajectory analyses and in-situ observations from mountain observatories helped to confirm the volcanic origin of the detected aerosol layer. Ultralight aircraft measurements permitted the detection of the arrival of a second major flush of volcanic material in Southern Germany. Numerical simulations with the Eulerian meso-scale model MCCM were able to reproduce the temporal and spatial structure of the ash layer. Comparisons of the model results with the ceilometer network data on 17 April and with the ultralight aircraft data on 19 April were satisfying. This is the first example of a model validation study from this ceilometer network data.
  • Article
    During the June 1996 eruption of Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand, traces of fine particulate volcanic ash were observed in or near the cities of Hamilton and Auckland, 166e282 km from the volcano. Although no health impacts in these cities were attributed to the eruption, hospital records at both cities for the following month show the highest rates of respiratory mortality for the 1990s. Alternative explanations for this increase in respiratory mortality were investigated, including urban air pollution, adverse weather conditions and influenza. Comparable records from Wellington city, assumed to be outside the zone of ash dispersal, were used as a ‘control’. Our results suggest that at Hamilton, where non-volcanic factors can largely be eliminated as making a significant contribution, diffuse volcanic ashfall may have been an important factor in respiratory mortality during the weeks following the eruption. At Auckland, further away from the volcano but with a much larger population than Hamilton, a case for a weaker volcanic contribution can be made, but is more equivocal because of coincidentally high urban air pollution and cold, stable weather. These findings support the concept that diffuse fine volcanic ash poses a risk to respiratory health at greater distances from an eruption than is currently perceived. This is because the finest ‘respirable’ fraction of erupted material with potentially hazardous physico-chemical properties is likely to be ejected highest into the atmosphere and dispersed the greatest distance. If significant amounts reach large cities, then large numbers of individuals may be at risk, especially those already suffering poor respiratory health. This work has important implications for environmental health and hazard management in New Zealand and in other regions that may be susceptible to a similar volcanic threat
  • Article
    We assess the impact of 1783-1784 Laki eruption on changes in cloud drop number concentrations and the aerosol indirect (cloud) radiative forcing using an advanced global aerosol microphysics model. We further extend these simulations to quantify the impact of a modern-day Laki on air quality. Our results suggest that the first aerosol indirect effect is of similar magnitude as the direct forcing calculated in previous assessments of the Laki eruption, but has a different spatial pattern. We estimate that northern hemisphere mean cloud drop concentrations in low-level clouds increased by a factor 2.7 in the 3 months after the onset of the eruption, with peak changes exceeding a factor 10. The calculated northern hemisphere mean aerosol indirect effect peaks at -5.2 W/m2 in the month after the eruption and remains larger than -2 W/m2 for 6 months. From our understanding of anthropogenic aerosol effects on modern-day clouds, the calculated changes in cloud drop concentrations after Laki are likely to have caused substantial changes in pecipitation and cloud dynamics. Our results also show that a modern-day Laki-style volcanic air pollution event would be a severe health hazard, increasing excess mortality in Europe on a scale that is at least comparable with excess mortality due to seasonal flu. Investigating the potential impact of such an eruption is crucial in order to inform policy makers and society about the potential impact of such an event so that precautionary measures can be taken.
  • Article
    The concentrations of numerous elements (Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, V, Zn) have been measured by ICP-MS and AAS in mosses of various sites from Mt. Etna and Iblei Mountains, in order to assess metal accumulation levels in regards to different anthropogenic disturbances and volcanic activity. All surveys have been performed by using Hypnum cupressiforme and Scleropodium cespitans; the latter species was used to compare its bioaccumulation capacity with H. cupressiforme, a species that has been extensively used all over Europe to biomonitor heavy metal levels. The concentrations of the same elements were also determined in soil samples collected at the same sites as the mosses to evaluate the role of soil composition as a potential source of metals uptake by mosses. Significant differences in heavy metal concentrations in both mosses species were found across the different sites. The levels found at the pristine sites for all the analyzed elements but Cr were always lower than those affected by anthropogenic sources. Also the varying anthropogenic sources influenced the heavy metal content of both mosses. A close relationship between mosses and soils was found for the following elements: As, Cu, Hg, Mn and Zn, an indication of the influence of re-suspension of soil particulates on the concentrations of these elements in both moss species. Hypnum cupressiforme and Scleropodium cespitans performed almost equally as heavy metal biomonitors since no statistical differences were found for the heavy metal concentrations of both mosses, and no site*moss interactions were recorded. However, 5. cespitans was slightly less influenced by soil sources than H. cupressiforme in regards to As, Cu, Hg, Mn and Zn tissue concentrations. Therefore, this study corroborates previous findings on the usefulness of mosses as biomonitors of heavy metals, and highlights the potential use of an additional moss species, 5. cespitans.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    In this paper, we present the very first determinations of atmospheric concentration of SO2, HCl and HF in rural locations of the Etnean area. Data were gathered with a network of 18 passive samplers, distributed on the slopes of the volcano at distances between 0.8 and 11.2 km from the summit craters and exposed for a period of one month (June 2002). Data analysis reveals that acid gas concentrations in air, ranging 3 -720 μg/m3 (SO2), <0.5-74 μg/m3 (HCl) and <0.1-3.0 μ.g/m3 (HF), show an inverse relationship with distance from the summit craters, reflecting the progressive dilution of volcanogenic volatiles by air components. We also point out that gas concentration in the air are the highest on the eastern flank, which is generally downwind crater emissions due to prevailing westerly wind circulation. Concentrations measured in an urban site (Catania) about 26 km away from the summit crater are significantly higher (SO2 = 21 μg/m3; HCl = 2.8 μg/m3) than background values in the area.
  • Chapter
    Historical records show that the 1783-1784 AD Laki eruption caused severe environmental stress and posed a health hazard far beyond the borders of Iceland. Given the reasonable likelihood of a recurrence of such a ‘low-probability, high-impact’ event it is important to assess the scale on which a future eruption could impact society. For this chapter, GLOMAP-mode has been used to explore the potential impact of a future Laki-style eruption on air pollution and mortality in Europe.
  • Article
    Kīlauea Volcano, located on the Island of Hawai’i, released approximately 3700 t of sulfur dioxide (SO2) per day from April 2009 through 2014. Within the atmosphere, SO2 is oxidized and converted to sulfuric-acid aerosols, and this volcanic smog is commonly referred to as vog. This study focuses on large-scale weather patterns that bring vog to O’ahu. The Hawai’i State Department of Health PM2.5 measurements were used to identify elevated vog conditions, and a total of 101 vog days were found. European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts ERA-Interim reanalysis data were used to determine weather patterns. These 101 vog days were the result of 57 distinct vog events lasting from 3 h up to 4 days. The 57 events were further categorized into three large-scale weather patterns: pre-cold fronts (37 cases), upper-level disturbances (17 cases), and Kona lows (3 cases). The pre-cold front events had variable duration lasting up to 4 days, and the largest vog concentrations occurred during long-duration pre-cold front events. Trade winds did not transport vog to O’ahu. As part of this effort, ERA-Interim data were downscaled to a resolution of 10 km and then 3.3 km using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The downscaled reanalysis data were used as input by the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model. The HYSPLIT model allowed for a visual representation of how vog is advected by large-scale wind patterns.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    A sudden blast was chosen as the studied topic. Also, one computer based virtual experimentation was used to estimate the dimensional impact of initial pollutant plume from blasts. Self-made method using Mathcad code was used to generate the output for the period of the first tenth of a second (1deci-second) to 1minute (60s) of the blast at the point source. It also depicted long-range air pollution travel within the first 1 to 10 minutes. In the case study, it assumed an average directional diffusivity of 1720 m²s⁻¹ which is about 25 per cent of the average generated speed of common explosives. The newly developed model revealed a plume cloud impact of 6.8×10⁷µgm⁻³ in the first 1millisecond (0.01s) which decayed suddenly to a value of 1.7×10⁷µgm⁻³ in the first 1decisecond (0.1s). The impact concentration at the point source by the end of the first second (1.0s) was 3.2×10⁵µgm⁻³ which implied a 99.5% sudden decay when compared to 0.01s concentration value at the emission point source. Computerized experiments observed that air pollutants release from explosives/blasts were dispersed into the atmosphere in the first few seconds by forceful injection instead of by gradual dispersion as is the case with normal air pollutants plume releases.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The negative consequences of long‐term exposure to particulate pollution are well‐established but a number of studies find no effect of short‐term exposure on health outcomes. The high correlation of industrial pollutants complicates the estimation of the impact of individual pollutants on health. In this study, we use emissions from Kīlauea volcano, which are uncorrelated with other pollution sources, to estimate the impact of pollutants on local emergency room admissions and a precise measure of costs. A one standard deviation increase in particulates leads to a 23‐36% increase in expenditures on ER visits for pulmonary outcomes, mostly among the very young. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • Article
    To investigate cardiorespiratory health effects associated with chronic exposure to volcanogenic sulphur dioxide (SO2) and fine sulphate particle (< or = 0.3 microm) air pollution emitted from Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii. Environmental-epidemiological cross-sectional study. An air study was conducted to measure exposure levels in the downwind area, and to confirm non-exposure in a reference area. Cross-sectional health data were collected from 335 adults, > or = 20 years of age, who had resided for > or = 7 years in the study areas. Prevalence was estimated for cardiorespiratory signs, and self-reported symptoms and diseases. Logistic regression analysis estimated effect measures between exposed and unexposed groups considering potential confounding including age, gender, race, smoking, dust and body mass index (BMI). Student's t-tests compared mean differences in blood pressure (BP), pulse and respiratory rates. There were statistically significant positive associations between chronic exposure and increased prevalence of cough, phlegm, rhinorrhoea, sore/dry throat, sinus congestion, wheezing, eye irritation and bronchitis. The magnitude of the associations differed according to SO2 and fine sulphate particulate exposure. Group analyses found no differences in pulse rate or BP; however, significantly faster mean pulse rates were detected in exposed non-medicated, non-smoking participants with BMI <25, and in participants aged > or = 65 years. Higher mean systolic BP was found in exposed participants with BMI <25. Long-term residency in active degassing volcanic areas may have an adverse effect on cardiorespiratory health in adults. Further study at Kilauea is recommended, and the authors encourage investigations in communities near active volcanoes worldwide. Public health interventions of community education, and smoking prevention and cessation are suggested.
  • Article
    Crystalline silica (mostly cristobalite) was produced by vapor-phase crystallization and devitrification in the andesite lava dome of the Soufriere Hills volcano, Montserrat. The sub–10-micrometer fraction of ash generated by pyroclastic flows formed by lava dome collapse contains 10 to 24 weight percent crystalline silica, an enrichment of 2 to 5 relative to the magma caused by selective crushing of the groundmass. The sub–10-micrometer fraction of ash generated by explosive eruptions has much lower contents (3 to 6 percent) of crystalline silica. High levels of cristobalite in respirable ash raise concerns about adverse health effects of long-term human exposure to ash from lava dome eruptions.
  • Article
    Cet article etudie l'impact de la pollution aerienne volcanogene sur l'environnement europeen. Durant l'annee 1783, un brouillard toxique compose de gaz et d'aerosols volcaniques a cause en Europe des maladies respiratoires, des dommages aux recoltes, des mouvements de panique et des perturbations climatiques. Des evenements semblables sont intervenus dans le passe et doivent etre pris en compte par les archeologues et les historiens.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Aircraft measurements of sulfur compounds and trace elements including Po210 were carried out in the plume of the Mount Etna volano, at distances 10 to 260 km from the crater. The experiment was performed in September 1983 following the large lava emission of March-August 1983. Trace elements, particularly Po210 and Si, were measured with the aim of calculating their atmospheric dilution and evaluating their outputs. This study enabled us to determine the SO2 to SO4 conversion rates to be between 2.2×10-6 and 4.0×10-5 s-1 in a cloud free anticyclonic situation. The main process of SO2 removal in a volcanic plume should be a heterogeneous process of adsorption of this gas onto large particles. Emission fluxes of SO2 were found to vary between 27 and 38 kg s-1, leading to a mean Po210 output of 0.4 Ci/d.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    STROMBOLI volcano in the Aeolian islands has been erupting continuously for more than 2,000 years1, and probably as many as 5,000, following a major flank collapse2,3. Here we describe air-borne measurements of the plume flux of SO2 during 1980–93, which show that the volcano emits very large amounts of gas, mostly by open-conduit degassing between explosive outbursts, while exuding little basalt. Microprobe analysis of sulphur in the K-rich (shoshonitic) basalt, along with data for primitive basalts in the region4,5, suggests that the time-averaged SO2 flux is produced by intrusive degassing of 0.01-0.02 km3 yr-1 of magma, 100-200 times more than the volume erupted. Over 5,000 years, this rate implies that 50-100 km3 of intruded basalt would have been degassed, suggesting either that the volcanic pile has grown substantially by intrusion6 or, more probably, that a large magma storage system is emplaced at a shallow level within the crustal basement. Our results indicate that Etna and Stromboli alone provide 10% of the global budget of volcanic SO2.
  • Article
    The variations in sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission from the Summit Craters of Mt. Etna were determined, with particular reference to the period 1993–1995. Vehicle-based weekly measurements of SO2 flux, using a correlation spectrometer (COSPEC), suggest new input of magma into the main feeder system of the volcano between 1993 and 1995. Minimal flux values (<1000 t/day) preceded the two eruptive events in the period 1987–1995. Only approximately 9.5% of the magma that contributed the SO2 emission was erupted during the same period.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Intense natural pollution has occurred in the past in Italy corresponding to intense volcanic activity, which appears to have diminished somewhat in recent times. Between 1500 and 1900, Etna, Vesuvius, Vulcano and Stromboli, plus volcanoes outside Italy were very active and there are numerous, well documented episodes of atmospheric acidification which caused widespread damage, especially to the vegetation. Other than the acid rains, volcanic emissions also caused so calleddry fogs which consist of a more or less dense mist composed of foul smelling gases and aerosols, characterized by a reddish color, that could appear and persist when the relative humidity was low as shown by measurements taken on such occasions. This phenomenon appeared most frequently at the beginning of the hot season. In fact, volcanic clouds of gases and aerosols formed especially when the Tyrrhenian sea water was relatively cold giving rise to very stable atmospheric conditions locally and the summer anticyclone meant that the winds were calm. Under such conditions the emissions of Stromboli and Vulcano, especially those emitted at low levels, remained entrapped in the stable layer, which were then transported towards the land reaching Northern Italy at a distance on the order of 103 km. Thedry fogs could persist for days or weeks. Harvests were seriously damaged and frequently the crops were subsequently attacked by parasites. The leaves of the vegetation became discoloured with numerous punctiform lesions or gangrene at the edges of the leaves. The phenomenon was so frequent that, in texts on agricultural meteorology of the 1800s, a distinction was made between the causticdry fogs which damaged the vegetation anddamp fogs which instead were good for it. The most important episode occurred in 1783 due to the activity of Laki Grmsvtn (Iceland) with the contribution of Italian volcanoes. This dry fog lasted many months and affected the greater part of the northern hemisphere including Europe and Asia, harming people, animals and vegetation. Apart from paroxysmal cases, from the 1300s up to today, some tens ofdry fogs have been noted, all of which have been sufficiently well documented. The frequency of these events culminated between the middle of the 1700s and the middle of the 1800s. There is reason to believe that this well documented phenomenon of the past, with sufficient volcanic activity, could recur on the meso and large scale; with present day activity the emissions continue to cause damage to vegetation, both in the Aspromonte mountains (Calabria, Southem Italy) as well as in other parts of Italy.
  • Article
    Evidence from the selected epidemiologic studies presented in this review suggests a coherence of effects across a range of related health outcomes and a consistency of effects across independent studies with different investigators in different settings. This compilation also provides insights into the relative magnitude of effects being observed in various studies (Table 6). Total mortality is observed to increase by approximately 1% per 10 μg/m3 increase in PM10. Somewhat stronger associations are observed for cardiovascular mortality (approximately 1.4% per 10 μg/m3 PM10), and considerably stronger associations are observed for respiratory mortality (approximately 3.4% per 10 μg/m3 PM10). No acute effects are detected with cancer and other nonpulmonary and noncardiovascular causes of mortality. These relative differences in cause-specific mortality are plausible, given the respiratory route of particle exposures. If respiratory mortality is associated with particulate pollution, then health care visits for respiratory illness would also be expected to be associated with particulate pollution. Respiratory hospital admissions and emergency department visits increase by approximately 0.8% and 1.0% per 10 μg/m3 PM10 respectively. Emergency department visits for asthmatics (3.4% increase per 10 μg/m3 PM10) and hospital admissions for asthmatic attacks (1.9% increase per 10 μg/m3 PM10) are more strongly associated. Asthmatic subjects also report substantial increases in asthma attacks (an approximate 3% increase per 10 μg/m3 PM10) and in bronchodilator use (an approximate 3% increase per 10 μg/m3 PM10). Less severe measures of respiratory health also are associated with particle exposures. Lower respiratory symptom reporting increases by approximately 3.0% per 10 μg/m3 PM10 and cough by 2.5% per 10 μg/m3 PM10. Weaker effects are observed with upper respiratory symptoms (approximately 0.7% per 10 μg/m3 PM10). While lung function provides accurate objective measures, the observed mean effects are fairly modest: approximately 0.15% decrease for FEV1 or FEV.75 and 0.08% decrease for peak flow per 10 mg/m3 PM10. Despite the relatively small size of these lung-function effect estimates, they consistently achieve statistical significance. Moreover, mean changes in lung function may not reflect substantial changes in sensitive individuals. In this review, changes in health measures are reported for only small changes in daily particulate pollution: 10 μg/m3 increase in PM10 concentrations. Because daily concentrations of PM10 in some US cities average over 50 μg/m3 and often exceed 100 or 150 μg/m3, the effects of particulate pollution can be substantial for realistic acute exposures. For example, a 1% effect estimate per each 10 μg/m3 increase would produce a 5% increase in the health measure for a 50 μg/m3 increase in PM10 concentrations, and a 3% effect estimate would produce a 16% increase. Thus the estimated increase in attacks of asthma (3.0% per 10 μg/m3 PM10) would be 16% for a 50 μg/m3 increase in PM10 concentrations.
  • Article
    Crystalline silica (mostly cristobalite) was produced by vapor-phase crystallization and devitrification in the andesite lava dome of the Soufriere Hills volcano, Montserrat. The sub-10-micrometer fraction of ash generated by pyroclastic flows formed by lava dome collapse contains 10 to 24 weight percent crystalline silica, an enrichment of 2 to 5 relative to the magma caused by selective crushing of the groundmass. The sub-10-micrometer fraction of ash generated by explosive eruptions has much lower contents (3 to 6 percent) of crystalline silica. High levels of cristobalite in respirable ash raise concerns about adverse health effects of long-term human exposure to ash from lava dome eruptions.