Occupational Asthma Reference

Longo BM1, Yang W, Green JB, Crosby FL, Crosby VL, Acute health effects associated with exposure to volcanic air pollution (vog) from increased activity at Kilauea Volcano in 2008., J Toxicology Environ Health, 2010;73:1370-1381,10.1080/15287394.2010.497440

Keywords: hawai, volcano, sulphur dioxide, asthma, so2, vog,

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Abstract

In 2008, the Kilauea Volcano on the island of Hawai'i increased eruption activity and emissions of sulfurous volcanic air pollution called vog. The purpose of this study was to promptly assess for a relative increase in cases of medically diagnosed acute illnesses in an exposed Hawaiian community. Using a within-clinic retrospective cohort design, comparisons were made for visits of acute illnesses during the 14 wk prior to the increased volcanic emissions (low exposure) to 14 wk of high vog exposure when ambient sulfur dioxide was threefold higher and averaged 75 parts per billion volume per day. Logistic regression analysis estimated effect measures between the low- and high-exposure cohorts for age, gender, race, and smoking status. There were statistically significant positive associations between high vog exposure and visits for medically diagnosed cough, headache, acute pharyngitis, and acute airway problems. More than a sixfold increase in odds was estimated for visits with acute airway problems, primarily experienced by young Pacific Islanders. These findings suggest that the elevated volcanic emissions in 2008 were associated with increased morbidity of acute illnesses in age and racial subgroups of the general Hawaiian population. Continued investigation is crucial to fully assess the health impact of this natural source of sulfurous air pollution. Culturally appropriate primary- and secondary-level health prevention initiatives are recommended for populations in Hawai'i and volcanically active areas worldwide.

PMID: 20818536 DOI: 10.1080/15287394.2010.497440

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