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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Prof. Claire Horwell

Horwell, C.J., Fenoglio, I. & Fubini, B. (2007). Iron-induced hydroxyl radical generation from basaltic volcanic ash. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 261(3-4): 662-669.

Author(s) from Durham


Iron-induced hydroxyl radical generation from the surface of volcanic ash particles is a possible mechanism of respiratory toxicity in addition to crystalline-silica induced pathogenicity. Here we show that volcanic ash generates hydroxyl radicals, with greater reactivity in iron-rich, silica-poor samples, such as basaltic ash. Basaltic particles expose at the surface high levels of poorly-coordinated iron ions in both Fe(II) and Fe(III) oxidation states which are likely to be the cause of such reactivity. Hitherto, basaltic ash has been disregarded as a hazard due to the lack of crystalline silica particulate but future hazard assessment should consider its toxic potential.