Results of research done in the wake of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption show that the effects of living near a volcano are damaging for both physical and mental health.
Shortly after the eruption of Eyjafjallakökull in 2010, the Directorate of Health, the University of Iceland, and other institutions initiated a research project focusing on those living near the volcano, RÚV reports. A questionnaire was sent to the residents of Öræfi, well inside the closest perimeter of ashfall, asking about general physical and mental health. For comparative purposes, the same questionnaire was sent to residents of Skagafjörður, on the north shore of the country and far from all but trace amounts of volcanic ash.
The results show that those living near the volcano were more likely to report breathing problems, chronic coughs, phlegm, and chest pains than those living far from volcanic activity. These physical symptoms also take their psychological toll on the subjects.
Guðrún Pétursdóttir, an associate professor at the University of Iceland who took part in the research, said that she hopes these results will help authorities in the future in getting the necessary help to those who need it in the wake of an eruption.