S3.1: Health hazards and environmental impacts associated with volcanic eruptions:emissions, exposure and response
Volcanic eruptions pose a considerable threat to the wellbeing and livelihoods of communities living near active volcanoes, where a range of potential human health and environmental impacts may arise following an eruption. In addition, exposure to volcanic pollution may adversely impact downwind environments and populations, notably in the event of active and passive degassing, ashfall, and resuspension of deposited material, since ash and gases can be transported over great distances. Human physical health can be affected in various ways, including fatalities and injuries from pyroclastic flows/surges, lava flows and ballistic projectiles, whereas exposure to fine-grained ash and gases can exacerbate or induce respiratory diseases and symptoms, and eye and skin irritation. Other, more indirect, effects include contamination of water supplies and crops, and psychological distress related to the eruption crisis. A recent period of unrest (2011-2012) at Santorini volcano (Nea Kameni), Greece, raises concerns about the possibility of a future gas and/or ash emission crisis. Consideration of such hazards, and those from existing passive degassing on other islands like Nisyros, are of importance because of their potential impact on population health and the overall economy of Greece. Co-ordinated, multi-disciplinary efforts are needed to assess and successfully prepare for health populations and emergency managers during volcanic crises. In this session, we welcome submission of abstracts from a broad range of disciplines relating to human and environmental health in volcanic areas, including: i) community exposure and protection, ii) health hazard and impact assessment(mineralogical, toxicological, clinical and epidemiological studies), iii) air and water quality monitoring and forecasting, iv) risk assessment and hazard management, including modelling studies predicting impacts from future eruptions, v) community preparedness and response to volcanic eruptions. This session is sponsored by the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN).
Core connection with societal risk mitigation: Volcanic eruptions pose a considerable threat to the wellbeing and livelihoods of communities living near active volcanoes. Coordinated, multi-disciplinary efforts are needed to assess and successfully prepare for health hazards associated with volcanic phenomena, and to provide timely advice to anxious populations and emergency managers during volcanic crises.