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Iron-induced hydroxyl radical generation from basaltic volcanic ash

Horwell, C.J.; Fenoglio, I.; Fubini, B.


I. Fenoglio

B. Fubini


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.


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

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2007
Deposit Date Feb 23, 2009
Journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Print ISSN 0012-821X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 261
Issue 3-4
Pages 662-669
Keywords Volcanic ash, Basalt, Iron, Respiratory health hazard, Free radical generation, Fenton activity.