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New Study: Eyjafjallajökull Eruption Health Hazard

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New Study: Eyjafjallajökull Eruption Health Hazard

The preliminary results of an extensive scientific study on the effects of the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull in south Iceland in April-June 2010 published earlier this month indicate that the eruption caused both physical complications and mental strain for local inhabitants.

eyjafj-eruption-ash-cloud_bb

The eruption in Eyjafjallajökull. Photo by Bjarni Brynjólfsson.

Guðrún Pétursdóttir, associate professor at the University of Iceland, told ruv.is that local inhabitants show both mental and physical side effects.

While the eruption was still ongoing, authorities decided to carry out research on its impact on the health of south Iceland’s residents. The study was organized by the Directorate of Health, the University of Iceland, among other institutions, and sponsored by the Icelandic government.

A questionnaire was sent to all inhabitants of the region between Hvolsvöllur in the west to Öræfi in the east in the autumn of 2010. The response ratio was 71 percent. Inhabitants of Skagafjörður in the north were used as a control group.

“The first conclusions show that there is a definite difference in symptoms from the respiratory organs: cough and mucus expectoration, discomfort, heaviness in the chest and other such symptoms, along with significant stress. You can sense that these people were under serious strain,” Guðrún said.

She added that the study provides the opportunity to provide better assistance to those who require it. The conclusions must be examined and those who require additional service located.

However, Guðrún pointed out that many of those who aren’t feeling well have already sought help. “One of the things the research showed was that those who feel worst are those who obtain the most assistance. We checked that and people are generally very satisfied with the support they have received.”

Click here to read more about the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull, which caused significant ash fall.

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