Health experts say the ash pollution isn’t falling to ground level and even if it does the effects would be mild

Experts reassured people that the volcanic ash cloud hanging over Europe poses no health risk beyond areas close to the volcano, according to reports.

Air quality monitoring shows ash pollution isn't arriving at ground level in most of Europe. The World Health Organisation issued advice that tied in with what UK experts have said—that small amounts of volcanic ash are unlikely to cause serious harm.

In a statement the UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) said: “It is likely that there will be rain in various parts of the UK and this may cause low concentrations of Icelandic volcanic ash to be deposited across the United Kingdom.”

“It is important to recognise that the volcanic ash poses no health threat in wet weather as the particles cannot be inhaled under these conditions.”

“In the event of rain it is anticipated that only very low concentrations of volcanic ash would be deposited in fields and towns and there are unlikely to be significant health effects among the general public when the rain dries.”

The statement continued: “However, because small quantities of volcanic ash could float back up into the air in windy conditions it would be sensible for people with existing respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma to ensure they keep their inhalers or other medications with them.”

“If people are outside and notice symptoms such as itchy or irritated eyes, runny nose, sore throat or dry cough, or if they notice a dusty haze in the air or can smell sulphur, rotten eggs, or a strong acidic smell, they may wish to limit their activities outdoors or return indoors.”

Any such health effects are likely to be short term, said the HPA.