The Environment Agency of Iceland is measuring raised values of SO2 and sulfate particle (SO4) in the Larger Reykjavík Area. These values are not high enough to encourage people to stay inside, but people sensitive to air pollution can experience symptoms such as burning of the throat or raised asthma symptoms. People are advised to not leave young children outside to sleep. According to information from the Met Office, the volcanic smog will likely remain until late Wednesday or Thursday.
The Iceland Meteorological Office and the Reykjavík municipality are encouraging people sensitive to pollution to be careful and advise against leaving young children to sleep outside. The haze from the eruption lies over the capital as well as the surrounding area. Levels of SO2 and sulfate particles are high up to Hvalfjörður north of the city and the Environment Agency’s website indicates that there is considerable pollution in Hveragerði as well.
Volcanic smog has a characteristically blue-grey tint and is created when SO2, other gasses and particles mix with oxygen and humidity. A notice from the City of Reykjavík states that the haze can cause fatigue, headaches, irritation in the eyes and throat as well as flu-like symptoms. Children and others that are sensitive to pollution should avoid spending long hours outdoors, especially when exercising. The haze is expected to stay over the capital area today and tomorrow, but on Wednesday or Thursday, the winds will change and no longer blow haze towards the city.
The public is advised to follow updates from the Met office at www.vedur.is/en and the state of pollution at the Environment Agency’s website.
- Lung-and heart patients are encouraged to have easy access to their medicines
- Breathe through the nose and avoid physical exertion outdoors when pollution levels are high.
- Staying indoors with windows closed and no air conditioning significantly reduces the risk of pollution.
- Close windows and doors
- Raise the temperature inside
- Remember to air out your house as soon as pollution goes down.
- Dust masks provide no protection against gas pollution
To monitor the measured values go to https://loftgaedi.is/en?zoomLevel=7&lat=64.894972… and for further information on air pollution during a volcanic eruption https://ust.is/…/air-pollution-during-a-volcanic-eruption/.
Further information on the health effects of volcanic smog can be found on the Directorate of Health’s website in Icelandic, English, and Polish.