THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF VOLCANIC ASH (part 4 Indirect health effects )


THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF VOLCANIC ASH

A guide for the public

This   document   has   been   prepared   by   the International  Volcanic  Health  Hazard  Network (IVHHN), Cities and Volcanoes Commission, GNS Science and the United States Geological Survey (USGS)  to  promote  the  safety  of  those  who experience volcanic ashfall. This guide explains the potential health effects of volcanic ash and gives details on how to protect yourself and your family in the event of a volcanic ash fall.

Indirect Effects of Ash Fall

As well as the short and long term health risks, indirect impacts of large ash falls must also be considered. These mainly arise from the secondary consequences of ash fall.

Effects on roads

The reduction in visibility from airborne ash alone may cause accidents. This danger is compounded by ash
covering roads. Not only are road markings covered up, but thin layers of either wet or dry ash are very
slippery, reducing traction. Thick deposits of ash may make roads impassable, cutting off communities from
basic supplies.

Effects on Power

Ash fall can lead to power cuts. These may have implications for health due to lack of heating
or other infrastructural requirements that depend on electricity. Wet ash is conductive, so it is essential
that safe operating procedures are stringently followed when cleaning power supply equipment.

Effects on water supplies

Ash fall can cause contamination of water or clogging and damage of water supply equipment. Small, open
water supplies such as domestic water tanks with roof drainage are especially vulnerable to volcanic ash fall,
and even small quantities of ash may cause problems for potability. While the risk of toxicity is low, the pH
may be reduced or chlorination inhibited. During and after ash falls, there is also likely to be extra water
demand for clean-up, resulting in water shortages.

Effects on sanitation

(waste water disposal etc).
The temporary disablement of municipal sanitation systems may lead to increased disease in affected areas.

Risk Of Roof Collapse

1) Roofs can collapse from the weight of ash, resulting in injury or death for those underneath.
2) There is a danger of roof collapse whilst clearing ash from roofs due to the increased load of a person on an already overloaded roof.
3) In several eruptions people have died after falling from their roofs while cleaning up ash.

Animal Health

If the ash is coated in hydrofluoric acid, the ash can be very toxic to grazing animals if they ingest ash-covered grass and soil.
Advertisements

One thought on “THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF VOLCANIC ASH (part 4 Indirect health effects )

  1. Pingback: THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF VOLCANIC ASH (part 3 SKIN) – Orgnat Life Products

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.