PORTLAND, Ore. — The tons of ash Mt. St. Helens spewed into the air in a devastating 1980 eruption appear to have caused no long-lasting health problems, scientists reported Friday.
The American Journal of Public Health released a 90-page supplement with several scientific articles evaluating the health effects of volcanoes, including data from human and animal studies conducted after the May, 1980, eruption of the southwest Washington peak.
The supplement was edited by Dr. Sonia Buist, professor of medicine and acting head of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Oregon Health Sciences University, and Dr. Robert Bernstein of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
"We found that Mt. St. Helens ash does have an effect on the eyes and respiratory tracts, but those effects seem to be reversible when exposure decreases or ceases," said Buist, who studied loggers with a wide range of job-related ash exposures and children attending summer camps where ash fell.