2003 News Archive


IVHHN has become been awarded Commission status by IAVCEI (International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior). This status will allow IVHHN to continue to exist after the conclusion of the Leverhulme Grant which supports it (February 2006) and gives IVHHN further international standing.
The Co-Leaders are:

  1. Dr Claire Horwell, University of Bristol, UK
  2. Dr Peter Baxter, University of Cambridge, UK.

The Secretary is:
Tamar Elias, Hawaii Volcano Observatory, USGS, USA.

Posted: 30/11/03



A major goal of IVHHN is to produce guidelines, protocols and recommendations for volcanic ash and gas management. On 3 November 2003, the first meeting was held, at the British Geological Survey, UK, attended by Expert Members of IVHHN involved with ash hazard management. The aim of the meeting was to write guidelines on

  1. The collection and analysis of volcanic ash for health-related research.
  2. Recommended safety guidelines for dealing with volcanic ash, including masks and ash clearance techniques.
  3. Medical advice for post-ash fall to be disseminated by local medical practitioners.
  4. An introduction to volcanic health hazard issues for dissemination in communities living close to active volcanoes.

Following the meeting, the 2nd draft of the guidelines is being written. The guidelines will be approved by the panel of Expert Members involved. Following this, the guidelines will be ratified, through IAVCEI, by an expert panel of international scientists affiliated with major organizations such as WHO, NIOSH, HSE, USGS, PAHO etc. The guidelines will be disseminated through our website but also in pamphlet form through WOVO, to volcano observatories around the world, where they will be distributed within local communities. If you are aware of any grant-giving bodies who might wish to contribute towards the costs of producing leaflets, please contact Claire Horwell with this information.




The first annual workshop of IVHHN took place at the Cities on Volcanoes 3 conference in Hilo, Hawaii between 14-18 July 2003. This biennial meeting is intended to bring together emergency managers, volcanologists, health professionals etc. to discuss volcanic crisis-preparedness and management. The focus is deliberately multidisciplinary and was the ideal forum for the IVHHN workshop.


Workshop Overview

The workshop concentrated on reviewing work done to date and strategies for future research and collaborations. More than 70 people attended the workshop, which lasted four hours with over an hour for discussion, which was extremely fruitful. The speakers gave overviews of the work done in their discipline (e.g. toxicology, medicine etc.) and what needs to be achieved in the future. The Powerpoint presentations from the workshop will soon be available on this website for viewing and downloading.

The workshop helped to clarify the aims of IVHHN for the coming year. By the second annual workshop, we hope to achieve the following:

  • Ash database - a database of well-characterized ash samples will be setup. The ash samples will be analyzed for size and composition, to give scientists, emergency managers and medics a better idea of ash hazard (respirability and silica content for example) at the onset of new eruptions. PLEASE SEND ASH SAMPLES TO CLAIRE HORWELL FOLLOWING DISCUSSION OF REQUIREMENTS BY EMAIL.
  • Guidelines - a major aim of IVHHN is to produce guidelines and protocols on volcanic health hazard management, which will be ratified by IAVCEI and disseminated through volcano observatories to the public, scientists, local health practitioners and emergency managers. An immediate aim will be to post health information on this website so that health practitioners can access immediate information on acute health effects of ash and gas exposure and give advice to local populations on ash management (dust masks, roof/house cleaning etc.). This year, we will concentrate on writing guidelines/protocols for ash hazard management, moving on to gas hazard management next year.
  • This website will be used as a 'clearing house' for useful information for those involved in decision/policy making regarding volcanic health hazard. For example, we aim to provide information on exposure limits (industrial/urban and volcanic) for SO2, CO2 and H2S from many countries around the world so that more informed decisions can be made for the appraisal of limits in volcanic areas.
  • The field of volcanic health hazard research is growing rapidly. We hope that the first workshop of IVHHN acted as a useful forum for discussion. We also hope that the meeting will have encouraged delegates to apply for funding and to follow up discussions which will lead to future collaborations.

Posted: 02/08/03


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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.



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