Fire Emissions and Smoke Toxicity

Hull, T Richard orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7970-4208 and Stec, Anna A orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6861-0468 (2024) Fire Emissions and Smoke Toxicity. In: Fire Retardancy of Polymeric Materials. Fire Retardancy of Polymeric Materials, 3 . CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp. 412-433. ISBN 9781003380689 (In Press)

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Fire toxicity is the largest cause of death and injury from unwanted fires, yet it is the least-well-studied area of fire science and engineering. Fire toxicity increases by factors up to 50 as the fire becomes under-ventilated. Replicating under-ventilated flaming in a controlled way on a bench-scale requires apparatus designed for the purpose. For acute toxicants, clear correlations have been observed between the stoichiometric equivalence ratio and the yields of the major asphyxiants, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide. In addition, irritant components of fire effluents can incapacitate fire victims, trapping them in a fire. However, the longer-term toxicants present in fire effluents, such as the carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and the microscopic particulates which result from their agglomeration are responsible for additional deaths on top of the acute asphyxiants and irritants. Thus long-term and short-term toxicity from fires must be considered.

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