2006 News Archive


There are three conferences being held in 2007 which will host symposiums on volcanic health hazards. Details of these meetings can be found on the Meetings page. This includes IVHHN's 4th Workshop which will be held at the Cities on Volcanoes 5 Conference in Japan in November 2007.

Posted: 04/10/06



IVHHN is pleased to announce publication of two sets of guidelines which have been written jointly with the United States Geological Survey and in association with IAVCEI's Cities and Volcanoes Commission and the New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences. The first Guideline Document is a guide for the public on the health hazards of volcanic ash. The second is for the public and emergency managers on guidelines for preparedness before and after an ash fall. Both documents replace previous USGS recommendations and will shortly also be available on the USGS Ash Impacts Website. Both documents can be downloaded as PDFs and will be available as pamphlets in English later in 2006. If you would like to order copies of the pamphlets please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The guidelines are also being translated into Spanish and Japanese. IVHHN would like to thank IGNS for producing the pamphlets and the Cities and Volcanoes commission for contributing to the costs of production.

Posted: 05/03/06


After having been founded through a three-year Leverhulme Trust Research Interchange Grant, IVHHN is now an independent organisation and an IAVCEI Commission. For the next two years we have funding from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, who have awarded IVHHN a Special Award of £10,000. IVHHN is grateful both to the Leverhulme Trust for our initial grant and to the Royal Commission for supporting us now.

Posted: 05/03/06


IVHHN held its third workshop at the Cities on Volcanoes 4 conference in Quito, Ecuador (23-27 January 2006). The Cities on Volcanoes conference was a resounding success, with the added benefit of so many active volcanoes nearby for delegates to visit, allowing first hand experience of the difficulties experienced by local communities during recent and on-going eruptions.

The IVHHN meeting was held during the evening of Day 2 of the conference during which a full-day Symposium on Volcanoes and Health had been held.

The symposium was given by 12 speakers involved in different aspects of volcanic health hazard assessment and was initiated with a plenary talk to all conference delegates by Dr Peter Baxter. Please see the Meetings page for information on all the talks. The symposium was very well attended with all talks being well received and led to an engaging discussion after the talks. The symposium chairs were particularly pleased to have incorporated several talks on health hazard assessment in Ecuador and South America. Attendees commented on the increased momentum and current interest in volcanic health hazard research and we hope this continues in the future.

A poster session followed the session, but posters were also available for viewing for two days of the conference.

Workshop Overview

Following the Volcanoes and Health symposium and poster session, IVHHN held its third workshop which was open to all conference delegates. The meeting opened with a presentation by Peter Baxter on progress of IVHHN over the last year and an overview of our achievements during the first three years of IVHHN's existence. Amongst these are the enormous interest in IVHHN's website, particularly in Japan (the website is now fully translated in Japanese) and the publication of seven Guidelines and Databases for the public, emergency managers and scientists during 2005/early 2006.

Dr Ben Williamson, Natural History Museum, London, UK, then presented a talk on the physico-chemical characterisation of respirable silicas in volcanic ash. The aim of this talk was to explain how progress has been made, with improved analytical techniques, in the quantification of crystalline silica in volcanic ash - a potentially toxic mineral often found in ash from andesitic/dacitic volcanoes. Until recently, it was extremely difficult to distinguish the different silica polymorphs in the ash due to interference from plagioclase peaks when analysing by X-ray Diffraction. With new, high-resolution XRD now available, these problems have finally been overcome.

Dr Andrew Allen, University of Birmingham, UK, also gave a presentation on the assessment of passive samplers for volcanic gas monitoring. In general, sampling volcanic gases involves the use of expensive instruments, but there is a need for small, mass-manufactured, inexpensive samplers which can be distributed in great numbers across an area (e.g. a town) to assess the concentration of volcanic gases which may be affecting a community's health. Commercial diffusion tubes are not designed with volcanic gases in mind, and are often expensive to buy in bulk. Andrew presented work on the development of samplers specifically for volcanic use and their validation on the flanks of Mt. Etna, Italy.

Following the presentations, we held an open discussion. The future of IVHHN was discussed as well as funding options. It was suggested that the aims of IVHHN should change slightly to encompass all aspects of volcanic health hazard assessment. Until now, our emphasis has been on respiratory health hazards as this has been the focus of current research, but IVHHN also hopes to be more involved with psychological assessment following volcanic eruptions and other non-respiratory medical conditions. In this way, IVHHN will act as an umbrella organisation for all aspects of volcanic health research and communication.

The next IVHHN International Workshop will be held at the next Cities on Volcanoes conference which is to be held in Japan in late 2007.

Posted: 03/03/06


IVHHN will be holding its third workshop at the Cities on Volcanoes 4 conference in Quito, Ecuador. The conference starts on 23 January and the IVHHN workshop will be on the Tuesday evening following the full-day Health Symposium that day. For more information see the IVHHN Meetings page.

Posted: 10/01/06


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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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