Toxic gases from fires

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Science  23 Jun 1978:
Vol. 200, Issue 4348, pp. 1343-1347
DOI: 10.1126/science.208143


The major lethal factors in uncontrolled fires are toxic gases, heat, and oxygen deficiency. The predominant toxic gas is carbon monoxide, which is readily generated from the combusion of wood and other cellulosic materials. Increasing use of a variety of synthetic polymers has stimulated interest in screening tests to evaluated the toxicity of polymeric materials when thermally decomposed. As yet, this country lacks a standardized fire toxicity test protocol.