The long-term objective of this program is to develop the capacity of the Hawaii Island community to design, conduct, interpret, and disseminate research on the health effects of volcanic air pollution. Kilauea's volcano's continuous sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions for more than 20 years, characteristic island wind patterns, and Hawaii's towering mountains create a natural experiment in which some communities are almost chronically exposed to SO2, some acid aerosols, and some communities to virtually no volcanic air pollution. Together with academic partners and community advocates, the Hawaii Island Children's Lung Assessment Scientific Study (HICLASS), community researchers will continue their school based-longitudinal study of a cohort of 1,988 Hawaii Island schoolchildren who have lived in these different zones of volcanic air pollution. Extending the longitudinal study another 5 years will help identify differences in incident asthma and the rate of lung growth, a particularly sensitive measure of respiratory health. In addition, HICLASS researchers will address the environmental exposure and respiratory health effects of students of the Volcano School of Arts and Sciences. This school of 140 students is within two miles of Kilauea's Halemaumau Center and 10 miles of Pu'u O'o vent. During periods of low wind speed or winds from the south, the students may be exposed to SO2concentrations in excess of 500 ppbv. Very recently, SO2 emissions from Halemaumau have increased from 100 tons/day to almost 1000 tons/day, providing a unique opportunity to learn the determinants and health effects of episodes of SO2 in excess of 1000 ppbv. In addition to including VSAS in its air monitoring program and school-based health assessments, HICLASS will facilitate pilot projects and reports by students to test factors that ameliorate exposure or acute health effects.
|Tam, Elizabeth; Miike, Rei; Labrenz, Susan et al. (2016) Volcanic air pollution over the Island of Hawai'i: Emissions, dispersal, and composition. Association with respiratory symptoms and lung function in Hawai'i Island school children. Environ Int 92-93:543-52|