W.7 | Effective respiratory protection for volcanic ash exposure reduction: results of the HIVE project


Dr Claire Horwell | Associate Professor (Reader) and Director of the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN; an IAVCEI Commission). Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, UK. Workshop to be led by Dr Horwell and the HIVE* team.

Date: September 4
Duration: 3 hours
Number of participants: Up to 50

This workshop will present the first evidence on the effectiveness of respiratory protection worn by communities during volcanic eruptions. The research was conducted for the Health Interventions in Volcanic Eruptions (*HIVE; http:// community.dur.ac.uk/hive.consortium/) project led by Dr Claire Horwell at Durham University. Laboratory experiments measured the filtration efficiency of a range of forms of respiratory protection worn by communities around the world, including bandanas and various types of cloth, surgical and healthcare masks, and industry- certified facemasks. The best-performing types were then testing for fit (total inward leakage) in a volunteer study in the laboratory. The results have been presented to the Pan American Health Organization/WHO and updated global guidance is expected as a result. The project also sought to understand the influences on behaviours surrounding masks use in community settings. Social surveys (anthropological and psychology- based) in Mexico, Indonesia and Japan have highlighted the different cultural, spiritual and environmental factors which affect the motivation to protect oneself when volcanic ash is in the environment. These findings are now helping to frame effective communication strategies around exposure reduction and effective mask use within communities. The ethics of agencies recommending and distributing facemasks in the absence of strong evidence of their efficacy will also be presented and implications for current practices considered. Results will be presented, and discussions held on how to take the findings forward into practices related to mask procurement, distribution and guidance.

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