WHO Issues Warning
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17 April 2010
As ash spewed by Iceland’s volcano began to rain down from the sky, the World Health Organization advised Europeans on Friday to stay indoors. WHO spokesman David Epstein said the agency did not know the exact health risks from the ash cloud. But he said the microscopic ash was potentially dangerous for people if it starts to “settle” on the earth because inhaled particles can reach the lungs and cause respiratory problems.
There is a heightened danger for those suffering from asthma and respiratory diseases. Epstein said the cloud mostly remained high in the atmosphere on Friday but WHO was monitoring the situation closely. Some ash blanketed the ground in parts of Iceland.
Scottish health authorities also warned people of possible health problems from ash falling over northern Britain. The volcano fallout is unlikely to pose a major health risk, but people should watch out for symptoms including itchy eyes or a sore throat, said Health Protection Scotland. The British Met Office downplayed the risk, saying any ash that did fall to the ground would be barely visible.