2004 News Archive


The 3rd IVHHN workshop will be held at the Cities on Volcanoes 4 conference in Quito, Ecuador in January 2006. For further information on the conference and IVHHN grants, please see the Meetings page.

Posted: 21/12/04


IVHHN held its second workshop at the IAVCEI General Assembly in Pucon, Chile, (14-19 November 2004).The International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI) represents the primary international focus for: research in volcanology, efforts to mitigate volcanic disasters, and research into closely related disciplines. The IAVCEI General Assembly proved to be an excellent venue for our second meeting, with over 900 delegates at the conference, generating much interest in IVHHN's work.

On day 2 of the conference, the Environment and Society session hosted several talks by IVHHN members (a full list of talks and posters is given on the Meetings page) on volcanic health issues, including an update by Tamar Elias on the effects of degassing on the Hawaiian population over the past two decades, and a talk by Peter Baxter on the risk of silicosis on Montserrat, West Indies. Following this session, the poster session included a group of health-related posters, for example Funda Toprak's poster on constraining the potential respiratory health hazard from large volcanic eruptions, and Tamsin Mather's poster on respiratory system penetration of acid aerosols from persistently degassing volcanoes. Both the poster and oral sessions were well attended.

Workshop Overview

Following the Environment and Society session, IVHHN held a workshop which was open to all conference delegates. The meeting was opened by Claire Horwell who gave an introduction to IVHHN and presented our achievements over the past year. These included the production of a suite of guidelines (see Coming Up for a list) which are in the process of review and will be published in 2005.

Dr Claire Witham, University of Cambridge, then presented an overview of three databases compiled for IVHHN on:
1) Techniques for leachate analyses of volcanic ash
2) Database of volcanic disasters and incidents in the 20th century
3) Volcanic gas exposure guidelines
The leachate database is currently in press in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. It reviews work done on volcanic ash leaching and recommends a standardized technique for leachate analyses to allow better comparison among different studies. The database of volcanic disasters lists all known incidents in the 20th century. The volcanic gas exposure guidelines were written in response to the need to recognise the difficulty in assigning gas expsosure guidelines within volcanic areas. Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii) is one of the few places to have assigned volcanic gas exposure guidelines and this document will help hazard managers by allowing reference to worldwide industrial and environmental guidelines for several gases. The database also details the health effects of each gas. All three databases will shortly be available on the IVHHN website.

A new theme for IVHHN is the contamination of water supplies by volcanic ash. During the workshop, Peter Baxter presented a talk on the effects of fluorine on health as an introduction to work which he is carrying out on the possibility that the 1783 Laki eruption caused death by fluorosis, in addition to starvation and disease through contamination of water supplies.

Following the presentations, we held an open discussion. It was suggested that the guidelines which we have written be translated into several languages. If you would be willing to take the time to translate our guidelines into your language, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . We also discussed funding opportunities to help us produce these guidelines in pamphlet form for world-wide distribution. Again, please contact Claire Horwell with any ideas for this or general support for IVHHN.

It was noted that it is often difficult for authorities to decide whether water is safe for a population to drink as there are many circumstances affecting the decision. It was suggested that a 'decision-making tree' could be constructed to aid hazard managers.

Finally, it was announced that the 3rd annual IVHHN workshop will be held at Cities on Volcanoes 4 in Quito, Ecuador in January 2006. At CoV4, there will be a day-long health symposium in addition to the formal IVHHN meeting. Please see the Meetings page for more information on CoV4.

Posted: 20/12/04


If you click on the Coming Up button on the left hand side of the IVHHN website, you will find a list of all the work which is currently in progress, which has been commissioned by IVHHN. As soon as the work is ratified it will also be available through this website and will be disseminated in pamphlet form around the world.

Posted: 12/7/04



The new web address is www.ivhhn.org. Please add this to your favourites list/Bookmarks.



News Archive:

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