Kīlauea eruption raises potential for air quality hazards

Posted on Sep 11, 2023 in Newsroom

HONOLULU – The Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) advises the public to be prepared for air quality impacts due to the recent Kīlauea eruption. As of Sunday, September 10, 2023, permanent air quality monitoring stations across the state report that air quality levels are elevated at the Ocean View and Pāhala air quality monitoring stations. The eruption has caused vog conditions to return to the west side of Hawaiʻi Island. Particulates in the air and levels of sulfur dioxide may increase and fluctuate in various localized areas on Hawai‘i Island, causing poor air quality.

Hawai‘i residents and visitors are advised to be prepared for and aware of the surrounding conditions, and how they may react to poor air quality or vog. In the event of voggy conditions, the following precautionary measures are advised:

  • Reduce outdoor activities that cause heavy breathing. Avoiding outdoor activity and exercise during vog conditions can reduce exposure and minimize health risks. This is especially important for sensitive groups, such as children, the elderly, and individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions including asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic lung and heart disease.
  • People with asthma or other chronic respiratory disease should always have medications available. Daily prescribed medications should be taken on schedule.
  • People experiencing health effects should contact their medical provider as soon as possible if any symptoms develop, as respiratory conditions might worsen rapidly in heavy sulfur dioxide or vog conditions.
  • Stay indoors and close windows and doors. If an air conditioner is used, set it to recirculate. If you need to move out of an impacted area, turn on the car’s air conditioner and set it to recirculate.
  • Face masks (surgical, cloth, KF94, KN95, N95) do not provide protection from sulfur dioxide or vog. However, they can be effective in outdoor environments in reducing inhaled hazardous particulates associated with falling ash and Pele’s hair.
  • Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Vog and air quality updates are available through the: