The management and outcomes of the volcanic crisis on Montserrat, which began with the onset of activity at the Soufrière Hills Volcano (SHV) on 18 July 1995, might have been very different without the scientific precedents set by the Mount St Helens eruption, USA, on 18 May 1980, and the research advances that followed. This narrative is intended to show the steps taken by health scientists in response to the unfolding developments at the volcano to characterize the hazard presented by the volcanic ash and to devise mitigation measures to prevent the development of irreversible lung disease in the island population. Initial assessments of the health risk for silicosis were deterministic and based on industry exposure limits derived from published epidemiological and clinical studies of workers exposed to dusts containing free crystalline silica. 

pdf  Evaluating the respiratory health risks of volcanic ash at the eruption of the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat, 1995 to 2010

 P. J. Baxter, A. S. Searl, H. A. Cowie, D. Jarvis and C. J. Horwell