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Volcanic Volatiles: Toxicity and Chronic & Acute Effects of Exposure


Approximately 60 minutes

Course Description:

The course “Volcanic Volatiles: Toxicity and Chronic & Acute Effects of Exposure” gives a brief overview of the primary volcanic gases of concern, their effects, and treatment for those effects. This course also introduces a classification system for the modes of action of the various volcanic gases. Case studies and public health concerns are also discussed.

This course was created by Pacific EMPRINTS, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Anthropology. Creation of the course was funded by FY 2008 Homeland Security Grant Program #2008-GE-T8-0022.


This course fulfills, in part, the following Core Competencies for Teaching Emergency Preparedness to Health Professions Students and Clinical Personnel:
  1. Describe the principles of and demonstrate the ability to select appropriate personal protective equipment.
  2. Within the scope of one’s professional practice, initiate physiological and psychological interventions for treatment of biological, chemical, radiological, and mass trauma injuries.
  3. List and describe the public health interventions that are part of a response to surveillance signals.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:
  1. List the primary volcanic gases of concern.
  2. Differentiate between the modes of action of the various volcanic gases.
  3. Identify protective measures against volcanic gases.

Target Audiences:

  1. Physicians
  2. Nurses
  3. Dentists
  4. Pharmacists
  5. Veterinarians
  6. First Responders
  7. Emergency Medical Services personnel
  8. Other Public Health personnel


Donald M. Thomas, M.S., PH.D.
Dr. Donald M. Thomas is the Director of the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, which provides training in volcano hazards assessment and monitoring, and conducts a variety of natural hazards outreach programs. He is also a geochemist with the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, and managed all phases of the Hawaii Scientific Drilling Project. He designed and currently teaches the “International Training Course in Volcano Hazards Monitoring.” Dr. Thomas chairs the National Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) Board of Directors and the Hawaii State Earthquake Advisory Committee, and is also a member of the Hawaii Hazards Forum. Additional scientific research interests of his include the study of radon release and transport in the vadose zone as an analog of volatile contaminant transport as it relates to earthquake precursory phenomena, and the geochemistry of ocean island hydrothermal systems.

Certificate of Completion:

A Certificate of Completion is available to be printed for this course upon completion of the post-test with a score of 80% or higher.

Cost: FREE*

*subject to change without notice.