An evaluation of ambient sulphur dioxide concentrations from passive degassing of the Sulphur Springs, Saint Lucia geothermal system: Implications for human health.

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Sulphur Springs Park in Saint Lucia is a site of energetic geothermal activity associatedwith the potentially active Soufrière Volcanic Centre. The Park is one of Saint Lucia's most important tourist attractions, and is marketed as the ‘world's only drive-in volcano’. It has an on-site staff of tour guides and vendors, as well as over 200,000 visitors annually. There are also a number of residents living in the areas bordering the Park. Recreational use is made of the geothermal waters for bathing, application of mud masques, and in some cases drinking. As part of the University of the West Indies, Seismic Research Centre's (UWI-SRC's) overall volcano monitoring programme for Saint Lucia, the volcanic emissions at Sulphur Springs (hot springs, mud pools and fumaroles) have been regularly monitored since 2001. In recent years, visitors, staff, and management at the Park have expressed concern about the health effects of exposure to volcanic emissions from the hydrothermal system. In response to this, SRC has expanded its regular geothermal monitoring programme to include a preliminary evaluation of ambient sulphur dioxide (SO2) concentrations in and around the Park, to assess the possible implications for human health... Brochures and posters were prepared, for public distribution and display, on possible gas hazards that may be encountered at SSP and precautionary measures that may be taken by visitors to help minimise potential risk from elevated exposure to volcanic gases.

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Volcanic gas emissions, Saint Lucia, Volcanic monitoring, Human health