Journal article Open Access

Review: The Use of Bench-Scale Tests to Determine Toxic Organic Compounds in Fire Effluents and to Subsequently Estimate Their Impact on the Environment

Kelly Peeters; Matija Ursič; Črtomir Tavzes; Friderik Knez

Generated fire effluents are toxic and responsible for the majority of fire deaths and injuries. Therefore, measures of fire safety and the assessment of toxic effects of fires on humans, which are the key factors to assess fire hazards, have been researched in the last decades. However, it is more and more recognized that there is also a need to assess the environmental impact of toxic compounds within fire effluents. Since ecotoxicology investigates the toxic effects of fire effluents on populations, interactions between ecology and toxicology are very important. These interactions may be complex and may involve research of food chains with several different trophic levels. This makes tracing of toxicants, to obtain reliable results, a real challenge. To tackle it, the bench-scale test is a cheaper and less complex method than large-scale fire simulations. Progress in the field of ecotoxicological studies is important because long-term exposure from the environment and bioaccumulation of toxic compounds in the human food chain may cause indirect health effects on humans. It is also an important tool for the general protection of the environment and biodiversity. Last, with data obtained from these studies, databases for the Life Cycle Assessment of construction materials can be improved.

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