Past Meetings

Cities on Volcanoes 6

Tenerife, May-June 2010


The following health session was held at the conference:

Human health problems caused by volcanic activity.


Peter Baxter
University of Cambridge
United Kingdom

Claire Horwell
Durham University
United Kingdom

Description: Volcanic health hazards continue to be an issue of immediate concern to local populations both during eruptions and for many years following eruptions. These are primarily from volcanic ash in the environment and its subsequent effects on respiratory health but may also be from the psychological effects of long-term evacuation and living with a 'rumbling giant'. Quiescent volcanoes also pose health concerns from volcanic degassing which can affect air quality and the potability of local water resources. This session is open to all research on the health issues caused by volcanic activity and we encourage talks and posters not only on the medical investigations but also on characterization of the properties of volcanic emissions which may be linked to adverse health outcomes.


Oral Programme


Time First author Title
11:00-11:15 HORWELL, Claire J. Cristobalite in a Rhyolitic Lava Dome: Evolution of Ash Hazard at Chaitén Volcano
11:15-11:30 LE BLOND, Jennifer S.; Mineralogical Analyses And In Vitro Screening Tests For The Rapid Evaluation Of The Health Hazard Of Volcanic Ash At Rabaul Volcano, Papua New Guinea
11:30-11:45 BAXTER, Peter J. Health Impact of a Continuous Ash Emission Eruption: the example of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, 2007-08.
11:45-12:00 DE VIVO, Benedetto Volcanic soils and health risks in the Neapolitan metropolitan and provincial area (Italy)
12:00-12:15 MARTIN, Robert S. Volcanic mercury (Hg) deposition around Mt Etna volcano (Sicily)
12:15-12:30 MORMAN, Suzette In Vitro Physiologically Based Extraction Tests of Volcanic Ash from Diverse Volcanoes
12:30-12:45 CARAPEZZA, Maria Luisa Recent Increase of Risk from Endogenous Gas Emission in the Urbanized Areas of Colli Albani Volcanic Complex (Rome, Italy)
12:45-13:00  HERNÁNDEZ, Pedro A. Health Hazards From Endogenous Gas Emissions at Horizontal Drillings for Water Exploitation in Tenerife, Canary Islands



2.6-P-01 DAMBY, David; HORWELL, Claire

Factors Affecting the Potential Toxicity of Volcanic Cristobalite
2.6-P-02 CALKINS, Julie; DELMELLE, Pierre; WICKHAM, Martin; FAULKS, Richard
Tracking Multiple Pathways of Human Exposure to Volcanic Fluoride
2.6-P-03 NIETO, Amiel; MARTIN DEL POZZO, Ana Lillian
Health Hazard Associated With Popocatepetl Ash
2.6-P-04 MICHNOWICZ, Sabina; GRATTAN, John
The Laki Fissure Eruption And UK Mortality Crises 1783-1784
2.6-P-05 MICHNOWICZ, Sabina; HORWELL, Claire; FUBINI, Bice; FENOGLIO, Ivana
Hydroxyl Radical Generation As An Indicator Of The Potential Respiratory Health Hazard Of Dust Produced By Quarrying Volcanic Deposits
2.6-P-06 ELIAS, Tamar; SUTTON, A. Jeff; KAUAHIKAUA, Jim; KIHARA, Susan; RAY, John D.
Ambient Air Quality And Other Environmental Effects Of The Ongoing Summit And East Rift Eruptions Of Kilauea Volcano On The Island Of Hawai`i
2.6-P-07 CALABRESE, Sergio; FLOOR, Geerke Henriette; ROMAN-ROSS, Gabriela; D´ALESSANDRO, Walter; AIUPPA, Alessandro; PARELLO, Francesco
Selenium Around Etna Volcano, Italy
2.6-P-08 KERVYN, François; MITANGALA, Prudence; van Overbeke Anne-Catherine; TEDESCO, Dario; CARN, Simon
Study Of The Impact of Nyamulagira And Nyiragongo Volcanic Plumes On Population Health In The Kivu provinces; Democratic Republic of Congo.
2.6-P-09 CARAPEZZA, Maria Luisa; BARBERI, Franco; BARRANCOS, Josè; FISHER, Christian; MELIAN, Gladis; PÉREZ, Nemesio M.;
RANALDI, Massimo; RICCI, Tullio; TARCHINI, Luca; VOGEL, Andreas; WEBER, Konradin
Health Hazard from Gas Emissions in the Quaternary Volcanic Province of Latium (Italy)





IAVCEI General Assembly

Reykjavik, Iceland, August 18-22 2008

A volcanic health session was held at the IAVCEI General Assembly:

Session 4-d: Responding to volcanic health hazards

Friday 22 August from 13.00

P. Baxter, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, UK,
C. Horwell, Institute of Hazard and Risk Research, University of Durham, UK

Responding to volcanic health hazards needs to be part of integrated contingency planning for human and natural disasters in those countries with active volcanoes. Local crises may arise in repose periods as well as during eruptions, and multi-disciplinary methodologies need to be developed to perform rapid health risk assessments for a wide range of volcanic phenomena. The session will focus on the following topics for presentation of case-studies related to human and animal health.


13:00-13:15 Cristobalite formation in lava domes: Implications for health hazards C.J. Horwell
13:15-13:30 Quantifying volcanic PM10 hazard at Mt. Etna (Italy): Numerical simulations and in-situ measurements S. Barsotti
13:38-13:45 The Influence for health on Miyakejima volcanic gas M.S Shiozawa,
13:45-14:00 Meteorological influences on the indoor CO2 concentrations at Azores archipelago (Portugal) – Public health hazard F. Viveiros
14:00-14:15 The eruption of the Laacher See volcano 12,920 BP and its effects on contemporary fauna, flora and human populations – a health hazard perspective RF Riede
14:15-14:30 Discussion  
14:50-15:05 Palaeopathology and volcanism: Fluorine poisoning in the victims of the 1783-4 eruption of the Laki fissure, Iceland H Gestsdóttir
15:05-15.20 Assessing the Risk of Volcanic Fluoride Exposure: Bioavailability J.A. Calkins
15:20-15:35 Fluorosis from a leaking crater lake M.J. Van Bergen
15:35-15:50 Health risk assessment of exposure to fluoride at the Nyiragongo volcano, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. P. Baxter
15:50-16:05 Multi-agency approaches for improving mental health outcomes during a volcanic crisis: lessons from eruptions in New Zealand D.M. Johnston
16:05-16:20 Stirring Up Volcanic Verve: Responding to hazards by promoting health M.E. Gowan
16:20-16:35 Discussion  



IVHHN's 4th Workshop

Cities on Volcanoes 5

Shimabara, Japan, November 2007

IVHHN held its 4th workshop at Cities on Volcanoes 5 conference, Japan in November 2007. Please see for full details.

During the workshop, we focussed on three topical issues:
1) exposure to volcanic soil gases and gassing accidents.
2) grain size analysis of volcanic ash for rapid health assessment
3) psychological issues of evacuation.


18.30 Welcome & overview of IVHHN's recent achievements Claire Horwell
18.45 Focus: Exposure to volcanic soil gases and gassing accidents Peter Baxter
19.00 Focus: Rapid grain size analysis with sieves TBC
19.15 Focus: Introdcution to psychological issues of evacuation Peter Baxter
19.35 Case study: Psychological issues of evacuation during the December 2005 intra-caldera Surtseyan eruption on Ambae Island, Vanuatu Shane Cronin
19.45 Discussion  


At the conference, we also hosted a session on the Health Hazards of Coexisting with Active Volcanoes. The timetable for the session was as follows:

Oral Session 1
Thursday 22 November

8.30-9.00 Emergency Planning and Mitigation at Vesuvius, Italy: A Human Risk-based Peter Baxter
10.10-10.30 Relief Activities for Victims of a Pyroclastic Surge During the Unzen Crisis Hiroko Fujita
10.30-10.50 Occupational Safety and Health Measures for Personnel Engaged in Disaster
Countermeasures against Volcanic Eruptions at Mt. Unzen Fugendake
Eiji Matsushita
10.50-11.10 Psychiatric Problems Among Citizens During the Unzen Eruption Akinori Takagi
11.10-11.30 Health Hazard From Endogenous Gas Emissions In Alban Hills (Rome, Italy) Maria Luisa Carapezza
11.30-11.50 The Health Impacts of Persistent Degassing at Nyiragongo Volcano (DR Congo) Simon Carn
11.50-12.10 High Sulphur-Dioxide Concentration Events at the Surface of Miyakejima and
Sakurajima Volcanoes
Kisei Kinoshita

Oral Session 2
Friday 23 November

8.30-8.50 2000 Miyakejima Eruption??−Changing Countermeasures for Volcanic Gases Hajime Ishihara
8.50-9.10 Fatal Accidents by Volcanic Gas and their Prevention Eiji Yano
9.10-9.30 Factors Contributing to Volcanic Gas Accidents in Japan Kenji Nogami
9.30-9.50 Enhanced Atmospheric Radon Concentration Due to Volcanic Activity Yosuke Kobayashi
10.10-10.30 Effect of Acidic River Water Neutralization on Mobility of Arsenic in Kusatsu-
Shirane Volcano Area, Gunma, Japan
Yoshikazu Kikawada
10.30-10.50 Cristobalite Formation in the Soufrière Hills Lava Dome: Implications for Health
Hazard Assessment
Claire J. Horwell
10.50-11.10 Quantitative Assessments of Health Hazards from Volcanic Ash at Mt. Etna (Italy) Augusto Neri
11.10-11.30 Management of Health Hazards and Societal Impact of Recent Volcanoes
Eruptions in Papua New Guinea
Julius Plinduo

(Thursday pm)

Presenter Poster Title
Julie Calkins Environmental Exposure to Volcanic Fluoride and Health Risk Evaluation
Catherine J. Hickson A Deadly Eruption of Tseax Volcano, Canada: Flash Flood or Gas?
A. Jeff Sutton Volcanic Air Pollution: A Widespread Volcanic Hazard in Hawai`i.
Jennifer S. Le Blond Developing a Rapid and Reliable Method of Quantifying the Amount of Crystalline
Silica in Volcanic Ash Using X-ray Diffraction
Sabina A. Michnowicz A Constellation of Disease - European Health Crises and the Laki Fissure Eruption
Kenji Nogami Gas Incident Induced by Heavy Snow at Doroyu Hot Spa, Northeast Honshu, Japan
Shigeru Suto Reinvestigation of the Volcanic Gas Disaster and the Reaction of the Municipal Office In Japan
Yasuhiro Ishimine Measures Taken by the Local Officials Against the Sulfur Dioxide Emission From Miyakajima Volcano
Akinori Takagi The Evacuation at Takagi Psychiatric Hospital During the Unzen Eruptions in the 1990s

For a full overview of the meeting please see our 2008 News Archive page.


IUGG General Assembly

Perugia, Italy, 2-13 July 2007

A symposium (VS020) was held at IUGG 2007 on: Volcanic health hazard assessment: focus on multidisciplinary collaboration and integration. The convenors of the symposium were Claire Horwell (University of Cambridge, UK) and Peter Baxter (University of Cambridge, UK). For more information please see:

Summary: The assessment of the health hazard of volcanic emissions is becoming standard procedure at the onset of eruptions. Since the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980, several volcanoes (e.g. Sakurajima, Japan and the Soufriere Hills, Montserrat) have had detailed studies carried out on the potential health hazard posed by inhaling volcanic ash and gas. Although it is now accepted that volcanic emissions can cause acute health problems such as asthma and bronchitis, we are still unsure as to whether chronic diseases, such as silicosis, can be triggered following long durations of exposure. The development of techniques for the rapid assessment of volcanic emissions for health-related parameters, such as grain size and composition analysis, is also a current priority. Much of what we know about the health hazard of volcanic emissions is drawn from comparison with other disciplines or adaptation of techniques used to assess the health hazard of other airborne pollutants such as anthropogenic aerosols and natural dusts. As well as mineralogical and geochemical analyses, health hazard assessment primarily relies on collaboration with the medical, toxicological and epidemiological communities. We invite contributions on health hazard assessment of volcanic emissions, with particular interest in presentations which incorporate novel techniques or information drawn from parallel disciplines interested in the assessment of health hazard of airborne particulate, gases and aerosols.


Frontiers in Mineral Sciences 2007

University of Cambridge, UK, 26-28 June 2007

A poster session on "Respirable natural dusts: Sources, characterisation and
health effects" was held at this conference. The convenors were Claire Horwell (University of Cambridge, UK), Ben Williamson (Natural History Museum, London, UK) and Bob Finkelman (University of Texas, US). The second circular for the conference can be found at

Summary: Inhalation into the lungs of small crystalline particles, over long periods of time or at high levels, can cause severe health effects. The mechanisms of toxicity are complex and the causes of differences in toxicity among different dusts and even within the same source of dust are poorly understood. We invite presentations on all aspects of the mineralogical, geochemical, toxicological and medical assessment of the toxicity of natural dusts.


IVHHN's 3rd Annual Workshop

Held at Cities on Volcanoes 4 conference in Quito, Ecuador

January 23-27 2006.

19:00 Welcome, Introduction and overview of IVHHN in 2005. Peter Baxter
19:15 Special Presentation: Physico-chemical characterisation of respirable silicas in volcanic ash Ben Williamson
19:40 Special Presentation: Assessment of passive samplers for volcanic gas monitoring. Andrew Allen
20:05 Open discussion Peter Baxter
20:30 Close  


Symposium VII Volcanoes and Health speakers and abstract titles

Presenter Talk Title
Peter Baxter Quantification and modelling of the human impacts of volcanic eruptions: an overview of recent advances
Graham Tobin Chronic Volcano Hazards and Health Impacts:
Ash-Falls Around Mount Tungurahua, Ecuador
Linda Whiteford Modeling Chronic Hazard Mitigation and Health:
Saving Lives, Destroying Livelihoods
Doug Dockery Concentration and Acidity of Airborne Particulate Matter in Communities on the Big Island of Hawaii
Claire Horwell* Basaltic ash: an unrecognised respiratory health hazard
John Grattan Continental Scale Impacts of Volcanic Gases on Human Health: The Laki Fissure Eruption and the Mortality Crises of 1783-84
Rachel Crimp Dental fluorosis attributed to volcanic degassing on Ambrym, Vanuatu
Ilan Kelman Human casualties in pyroclastic flows: An impact model based on European case studies
Ricardo Perez Simulation exercise with new technologies:
A tool geared towards strengthening coordination and
decision-making in preparedness and response for volcanic emergencies
Thea Hincks A probabilistic risk assessment for long-term exposure to respirable volcanic ash on Montserrat
Esperanza Lopez-Vazquez Volcanic risk perception, stress and coping strategies of people living near the volcano Popocatepetl.
Elena Naumova Emergency room visits for respiratory conditions increased after Pichincha volcanic eruptions in Quito, Ecuador.


Symposium II, Ash and Aerosols talks of relevance:

Presenter Talk title
Claire Horwell Grain size analysis of volcanic ash for the assessment of health hazard
Shane Cronin Impacts of gas and ash eruptions on pastoral and subsistence agriculture


IVHHN's 2nd Annual Workshop

Held at the IAVCEI GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Pucon, Chile

14-19 November 2004


Talks relevant to IVHHN

Presenter Talk Title
Prof. Hugo Moreno-Roa Volcanic hazards and community: Las Cascadas case study, Osorno volcano, Southern Andes Volcanic Zone (41º S), Chile

Dr David Johnston

Recovery issues resulting from a long-duration eruption
Dr Simon Young Socio-economic impacts of volcanic eruptions; foundations laid by a case study in Costa Rica
Dr. Gordon Keating Volcanic Hazards Studies Tailored to Future Populations and Facilities: Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA
Tamar Elias Two decades of degassing at Kilauea Volcano, Hawai‘i: an update on island impacts
Dr Peter Baxter Risk Assessment for silicosis and exposure to volcanic ash on Montserrat
Dr. Rorik Peterson Assessment of the Impact of Volcanic Ash on Aircraft and Population Centers Using Satellite and Dispersion Model Data
Dr Claire Horwell Generation of free radicals in basaltic and andesitic volcanic ash: new implications for respiratory health hazards.
Dr. M.A. Armienta Geochemistry of the soluble fraction of Popocatépetl volcano ashfall.


Posters relevant to IVHHN

Presenter Poster title
Dr. Catherine Annen

Impact on communities of volcanic eruptions during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction

Dr. Walter D'Alessandro The environmental impact of magmatic fluorine emissions in the Mt.Etna area
Prof. Danilo Palladino Origin of oncogenic amphibole fibres in the Biancavilla volcanics, Mount Etna (Italy)
Miss Funda Toprak Constraining the Potential Respiratory Health Hazard from Large Volcanic Eruptions
Dr. Ignacio Galindo The influence of volcanic emissions on gases and atmospheric aerosols in the city of Colima, Mexico.
Dr. Tamsin Mather Respiratory system penetration of acid aerosols from persistently degassing volcanoes
Prof. Mabel Padlog The mental health of communities at risk : the case of Juan Barragán, México
Mr. Scott Barnard Effects of the 2002 eruption of Mt. Etna, Italy: Implications for New Zealand
Miss Kirsten Finnis Building community resilience to New Zealand’s volcanic risk
Dr. Claire Witham Twentieth Century volcanic disasters and incidents: a new database
Mr. Andrea Nencetti Effects of volcanic plume emissions in the surrounding areas of Nyiragongo Volcano (D.R.Congo): rain water and ash-leachate chemistry


English Dutch French German Greek Italian Japanese Portuguese Russian Spanish Indonesian

Latest News


Download our pamphlets on preparing for ashfall and on the health hazards of ash. They are designed for mass distribution at the onset of new eruptions. They are now avaiable in English, Japanese, French Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili, Indonesian and Icelandic with Italian versions being available shortly. Please see our Pamphlets page for further infomation.





IVHHN has an article under the Guidelines tab which used to be called 'Recommended Face Masks'. This has now been updated to 'Information on face masks' and is an interim page whilst the Health Interventions in Volcanic Eruptions project investigates which types of respiratory protection are effective in protecting the general population from volcanic ash inhalation. Please note that the translations in Spanish, Japanese and Portuguese have not yet been updated.



WebSTAT - Free Web Statistics