East Hawaii News

Lava Smoke Poses Health Risks for Puna Residents

September 5, 2014, 3:57 PM HST
* Updated September 11, 12:25 PM
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Smoke coming from the June 27th lava flow may effect the health of Puna residents.

The Hawai’i State Department of Health issued a press release Friday advising Hawai’i Island residents living near the lava flow to plan ahead for potential smoke exposure from burning vegetation and low levels of sulfur dioxide.

According to the release, the smoke effect on nearby communities will vary largely depending on unpredictable wind and weather conditions.

Smoke contains a mixture of gases and fine particles that may trigger adverse respiratory conditions. Additionally, encroaching lava may contain low levels of sulfur dioxide, an irritant gas emitted by the Kilauea Volcano.

Residents should avoid outdoor activities or physical exertion.

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People with respiratory illness or heart disease, older adults and children are urged to avoid smoke exposure.

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Smoke may worsen symptoms for individuals who have pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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