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Hawai‘i DOH Reports Dangerous SO2 Emissions

May 14, 2018, 12:49 PM HST
* Updated May 14, 1:37 PM
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Monday, May 14, 2018, noon

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health reports that the current eruption activity is producing dangerous sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas and other emissions that are hazardous; especially for elderly, young children and babies and people with respiratory problems. People who are downwind or close to the vents and lava flows are also at high risk. Be aware of the unpredictable nature of dangerous levels of SO2 gas because it can be carried far from the fissures with wind speed and direction.

Due to the presence of SO2 hazards in lower Puna, the following are issued:

Leaving the area of volcanic activity or sheltering in place is the best way to protect yourself and your family. Only specialized masks available for purchase will protect from the dangerous gases and particulate matter that are being released in the current volcanic activity.


Take precautions. When levels of vog are elevated:

  • Avoid outdoor activities that cause heavy breathing,
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration,
  • Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke,
  • Stay indoors and close windows and doors prior to gas inundation,
  • If an air conditioner is used, set it to recirculate,
  • Always keep medications on hand and readily available,
  • Daily prescribed medications, should be taken on schedule and may provide relief from the effects of sulfur dioxide, and
  • Contact a doctor as soon as possible if any health problems develop.
  • Monitor vog levels and forecasts: People on Hawai‘i Island outside the area of volcanic activity are also advised to monitor levels of vog at https://vog.ivhhn.org.


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