Natural disasters cause an extensive health problem for affected populations. There are many hazardous chemicals that are released out of the volcanic eruptions into the environment (air pollution).Volcanoes are the most health hazardous natural disaster there is. This hazard is able to cause acute and chronic respiratory diseases (e.g. asthma and bronchitis), and lung cancer. If humans inhale the sulphuric air when the particles are released it enters the respiratory system of more than a billion people, and also disrupts the environment. It is said that volcanic ash stays in the environment for months or years after eruptions and the ash has the ability to harm communities hundreds of kilometres away from the volcano (Horwell, 2007). Air pollution has major health effects on the bodies respiratory and the cardiovascular system with either acute or chronic affects. The acute effects caused by the sulphuric air pollutant include eye irritation, upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and the chronic effects caused by the sulphuric air includes respiratory disease, such as lung cancer, heart disease, and damage to the brain, nerves, liver, or kidneys (Zuskin & Mustajegovic, 2007). This world requires fresh air that is essential to various organisms and the health of our environment that needs to be preserved and protected. Life requires air to sustain it, yet the adequate amounts of fresh air are being contaminated by hazardous chemicals. The effect of volcanic ash on human health reduced life expectancy by a great number.
Worldwide there are 500 active volcanoes, and every year there are 10 to 40 volcanic eruptions that occur. There are many hazardous effects produced by volcanoes for the environment, climate, and the health of the exposed persons, and are associated with the deterioration of social and economic conditions. Among all the hazards, volcanoes cause toxic ash to be released which cause damage of the respiratory system, eyes and skin, including psychological effects. During volcanic eruptions and their immediate aftermath, increased respiratory system morbidity has been observed as well as mortality among those affected by volcanic eruptions (Zuskin & Mustajbegovic, 2007). The purpose of this volcanic research was to examine the cardio respiratory health effects of people that were exposed to the sulphuric air pollution of the Kilauea volcano. The sulphuric particles that were released into the air from the eruption were the major health effects for humans causing respiratory problems. The location of this hazard investigation was in the town of Na'alehu, which is located 68 km downwind from the eruption. The reason for the location was that there were small amounts of sulphuric air particles; and it was a rural place with available healthcare (Longo, 2008).