HONOLULU (KHON2) – Mauna Loa’s flowing lava does not currently pose a risk to nearby communities. However, it is always good to be prepared just in case. 

George Negron is an air quality expert who explains why it’s important to keep an eye out on the current air quality with this most recent eruption. 

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According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) volcanic gases such as sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen fluoride can pose great hazards. 

Ash is not highly toxic, however, the EPA report it can inflame respiratory ailments and negatively impact infants and the elderly. 

“With natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, wildfires or hurricanes, there’s usually not much time to prepare,” said Negron. “People should always prioritize their indoor air quality (IAQ) to proactively create a healthy environment.”

He said air purifiers have a proven history of eliminating toxins inside your home. They also come in handy when a disaster hits.

For more information on what to do to improve your indoor air quality, head to EnviroKlenz website

“Ash and gases can seep into your house in more ways than you think,” said Negron. “What seems like a well-sealed home could actually have hidden spots where it’s not fully closed off, or you could also be doing typical home activities that contribute to outdoor air letting itself in.”

Right now, Muana Loa’s current eruption is not posing a great threat on the Big Island’s air quality. However, forecasters are keeping a close eye on the current weather conditions and how it might impact the days and weeks to come. 

To look up the current air quality on the Big Island or where you are located in Hawaii click here.

“Volcanic eruptions emit both large, visible particles of ash, and ultra-fine particles that you cannot see,” said Negron. “Visible, coarse particles will feel like powdery grains of sand.”

He said volcanic smog is also a sign of poor air quality. Volcanic gases such as sulfur dioxide, fluorine and carbon dioxide can irritate skin and the tissues and mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and throat, and can penetrate airways, producing respiratory distress in some individuals. 

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“The best way to mitigate and remove these particles is through the use of an effective HEPA filter that will remove particulate matter as small as 0.3 microns or larger, including volcanic ash,” said Negron. “HEPA filters can be effective for people who have problems with airborne allergens and irritants such as smoke and ash.”