Tavares, W.R., Garcia, P.V., Barreto, M.C., Seca, A.M.L. & Rodrigues, A. (2018) Cardiorespiratory health effects associated with acute exposure to hydrothermal gas emissions from Furnas volcano. Açoreana, 11(2), 265-275.
Furnas volcano is located on the eastern part of the island of São Miguel (Azores, Portugal), where volcanic activity is marked by several hydrothermal manifestations that continuously emit volcanic gases, inhaled by the resident population (chronic exposure) or visitors to that locality (acute exposure). Taking into account the characteristic atmosphere of Furnas and the lack of studies on the effects caused by acute exposure to volcanic gases, this study was developed with the aim to answer two questions: (1st) What are the cardiorespiratory effects resulting from an acute exposure to volcanic gases on a group of volunteers, namely regarding heart rate and blood pressure, peripheral oxygen saturation and lung function parameters? (2nd) What is the chemical constitution of Furnas volcanic gases condensate? The oximetry, spirometry, blood pressure and heart rate measurement results obtained from the acute exposure of a group of volunteers to the fumaroles showed that only the heart rate was significantly affected. The decrease in the heart rate value from the pre-exposure to the post-exposure period indicates that exposure to the high CO2 atmosphere of the fumarole had a calm and relaxing effect on the volunteers. The elemental composition of Furnas volcanic gases condensate was determined in order to better evaluate the environment that volunteers would be exposed to when visiting Furnas. The results show that the chemical composition of the Furnas fumarole condensate is mainly Ca, Na, Si and K.