On December 6, 2022, VOG (volcanic smog) spread through the islands of Hawaii following the Mauna Loa eruption. This silent danger greatly affects the residents of the Big Island. VOG can also travel large distances and can potentially blanket the entire Hawaiian archipelago. Last week, VOG from the Mauna Loa eruption traveled downwind and reached Kauai, which is over 250 from the Big Island.
Volcanic Air Pollution – VOG
Toxic gases from volcanoes including sulfur dioxide gases (SO2) are a natural byproduct of volcanic activity. During volcanic events, emissions from vents and fissures are much higher than normal. These emissions are similar to those released in coal-burning power plants. When SO2 and volcanic ash or dust mix with sunlight and airborne moisture, VOG (volcanic smog) is formed. The VOG can form a thick brown haze and sometimes creates driving hazards on the Big Island.
VOG is highly dangerous and causes health risks, especially for children, seniors, and people with respiratory or cardiac conditions. VOG commonly irritates eyes, and noses, and causes sore throats and headaches.
When this toxic air reaches the lungs, it can cause wheezing, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. According to the American Lung Association, VOG also exacerbates asthma and sometimes results in heart attacks.
Outdoor air problems affect indoor air quality. Outside air and inside air leak in and out of the home through openings in the perimeter of the building. This is called air exchange and it happens in all homes to different degrees. In some homes, air exchange can be as high as 50% per hour.
More common air quality issues.
These include allergies to dust mites that are commonly found in mattresses, carpeting, upholstery, and drapes. Some area residents are also allergic to their pets, others are sensitive to flowers, grasses, or tree pollen. Many too are also sensitive to chemicals or VOCs from cleaning products, construction materials, and solvents commonly used in salons.
HEPA filtration with activated carbon
Austin Air HealthMate Plus is a HEPA air cleaner with activated charcoal carbon and is the best air purifier for Hawaii. It removes both the airborne particles and chemicals found in VOG. Additionally, HealthMate Plus removes the more common allergens and chemicals from the air.