Posted on 29/09/2022 in Fire Safety Regulatory 2022
Data on environmental emissions from fires

New report analyses emissions from fires, susceptible to have health or environmental impacts, with an Emission Factor database for 90 materials. The US NFPA Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF) report, and downloadable Excel data base (see links below) follows the Research Roadmap “Environmental impact of fires in the built environment” (2020), see pinfa Newsletter n°118. It notes that most available data covers only CO and CO2 emissions, and not organic species (such as PAH polyaromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins or soot particles), despite these probably represent the largest environmental impact and decontamination costs.

The report draws on a recent INERIS (France) study characterising toxic substances (long-term or acute toxicity) emitted by fires and on large and small scale fire tests carried out at INERIS and at Lund University 2019-2020, as well as existing test data from literature (13 publications identified in table 5 for which experimental data was available). Results of 32 room tests are included, of which, in 18 only minimum emissions were measured (CO2, CO, acid gases, HCN): in 14 also metal particles, soot particles, PAH, PCDD/F and PBDD/F were measured. These tests covered a range of products (car, lithium ion battery cells, crushed electronics materials, fridge, cotton or synthetic clothes …) and single materials (oil, polyethylene, PVC, different woods …).

Flame retardants were presumably not present in the single materials, and the presence or not in the products is not specified. The report notes good correlation between emissions from small and large scale tests, but that tests were largely well-ventilated (emissions in poorly-ventilated fires need to be investigated). Also, further investigation should look at whether emissions from fires involving various different materials as fuels are simply the sum of emissions from each material separately.

“Environmental Impact of Fires in the Built Environment” includes link to downloadable Excel data base, US NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)

“New report released on the environmental impact of fire”, IFSJ (International Fire Safety Journal); 21 July

“Environmental Impact of Fires in the Built Environment: Emission Factors”, M. McNamee, J. Åström, B. Truchot, G. Marlair, B. Meacham, Fire Protection Research Foundation, April 2022

“Recensement des substances toxiques (ayant un impact potentiel à court, moyen et long terme) susceptibles d’être émises par un incendie”, INERIS – 203887 – 2079442 – v2.0

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