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Toxic Potency Values for Smoke from Products and Materials



J L. Neviaser, Richard Gann


Many devices have been used to generate data on the toxic potency of smoke from burning products and materials. This paper critically reviews those apparatus and sorts them by the combustion conditions (related to a type of fire) producing the smoke, the specimens tested, and the animal effect measured. All the usable data were derived using rats, and the toxicological effects encountered were lethality, represented by an LC50 value, and incapacitation, expressed as an IC50 value. The data showed a wide range of toxic potency values for the products and materials tested. For those engineering applications where the mix of combustibles is unknown, generic values of smoke toxic potency were derived. Statistical analysis of the wealth of published data yielded a generic LC50 value of 30 g/m3 20 g/m3 (one standard deviation) for 30 min exposure of rats for pre-flashover smoke. For post-flashover fires, a value of 15 g/m3 5 g/m3 is suggested. The mean value of the ratios of IC50 values to LC50 values is 0.50 0.21, consistent with a prior review. Thus, for pre-flashover fires, a generic 30 min IC50 value (for rats) would be 15 g/m3 10 g/m3; for post-flashover fires, the corresponding number would be 7 g/m3 2 g/m3. There are some materials with appreciably lower potency values, indicating higher smoke toxicity. If materials like these are expected to comprise a large fraction of the fuel load, a lower generic value can be used.
Fire Technology


fire, incapacitation, lethality, smoke, smoke toxicity


Neviaser, J. and Gann, R. (2021), Toxic Potency Values for Smoke from Products and Materials, Fire Technology (Accessed June 16, 2024)


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Created October 12, 2021