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Studies of the respiratory health effects of different types of volcanic ash have been undertaken only in the last 40 years, and mostly since the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980. This review of all published clinical, epidemiological and toxicological studies, and other work known to the authors up to and including 2005, highlights the sparseness of studies on acute health effects after eruptions and the complexity of evaluating the long-term health risk (silicosis, non-specific pneumoconiosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) in populations from prolonged exposure to ash due to persistent eruptive activity.

pdf  The respiratory health hazards of volcanic ash: a review for volcanic risk mitigation

Claire J. Horwell, Peter J. Baxter.