Title

Effects of Volcanic Ash on Air Quality, Travel, and the Human Body

Date

5-29-2014 1:00 PM

End Time

29-5-2014 1:20 PM

Location

Health and Wellness Center (HWC) 105

Department

Earth Science

Session Chair

Jeffrey Templeton

Session Title

“Eruptions that Shook the World” – Examining the Influence of Volcanism on the Earth System

Faculty Sponsor(s)

Dr. Jeffrey Templeton

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

In explosive eruptions, fine ash is expelled into the atmosphere. This ash has various implications in regard to air travel, air quality, and the health of humans in proximity to an eruption. The angular fragments of ash can cause engine failure within different types of vehicles including airplanes, cars, and trains. It may completely halt both ground and air travel due to obstructing vision through haziness as well as causing slippery conditions on roadways and runways. Ash on the ground may cover road indicators as well as be suspended in the air, enabling small particles to enter the human system. Ash that is less than 10 microns in diameter may infiltrate human airways causing immediate reactions such as asthma attacks and bronchitis. Ash particles that are 4 microns or less will penetrate the alveoli, potentially contributing to chronic diseases, cancer, and COPD. Free crystalline silica is the main concern when considering human health effects of ash, as long term exposure may lead to silicosis, a scarring of the lungs. Fluoride and other volcanic aerosols may have effects on the human body, including fluorosis, a disease that causes pain and limitation of movement in bones as well as tooth degeneration.

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May 29th, 1:00 PM May 29th, 1:20 PM

Effects of Volcanic Ash on Air Quality, Travel, and the Human Body

Health and Wellness Center (HWC) 105

In explosive eruptions, fine ash is expelled into the atmosphere. This ash has various implications in regard to air travel, air quality, and the health of humans in proximity to an eruption. The angular fragments of ash can cause engine failure within different types of vehicles including airplanes, cars, and trains. It may completely halt both ground and air travel due to obstructing vision through haziness as well as causing slippery conditions on roadways and runways. Ash on the ground may cover road indicators as well as be suspended in the air, enabling small particles to enter the human system. Ash that is less than 10 microns in diameter may infiltrate human airways causing immediate reactions such as asthma attacks and bronchitis. Ash particles that are 4 microns or less will penetrate the alveoli, potentially contributing to chronic diseases, cancer, and COPD. Free crystalline silica is the main concern when considering human health effects of ash, as long term exposure may lead to silicosis, a scarring of the lungs. Fluoride and other volcanic aerosols may have effects on the human body, including fluorosis, a disease that causes pain and limitation of movement in bones as well as tooth degeneration.