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On the Inclusion of Toxic Potency in Product Fire Performance

Gann, R.G., 2008. On the Inclusion of Toxic Potency in Product Fire Performance. Fire Safety Science 9: 677-685. doi:10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.9-677


For fire hazard and risk assessment, it is not practical to expect to find toxic potency values for all potential combustibles, nor is it reasonable to expect the assessment to include precise values, even if they were available. In large part, this is due to the limited degree of established precision and accuracy of toxic potency estimates at the current state of the art. Nonetheless, smoke inhalation continues to be the leading cause of fire deaths. Thus, some expedited, but accurate construct for implementing smoke toxic potency data in a product's fire performance characterization is needed. This paper suggests that toxic potency values be grouped within factors of ten, and it is expected that most combustibles would be seen as "ordinary." An example of a process to estimate the grouping of toxic potencies is developed. This includes consideration of whether the objective of the hazard or risk assessment is to maintain the currently experienced level of toxic fire hazard or to decrease the general toxic hazard from the currently experienced level. Finally, worked examples of the process are provided.

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