It has been reported that incorporation of fire retardants into home furnishings and electronics increases the toxicity of smoke produced during combustion in house fires. Studies have been limited to exercises in analytical chemistry but the biological effects of emissions, particularly regarding chronic toxicity, have not been investigated. The combustion of furnishings with and without chemical flame retardants (FR) regarding (1) ignition resistance and fire progression, (2) chemical composition of smoke (analytical chemistry), and (3) toxicity was compared. Data demonstrated that flame retarded furnishings slowed the generation of toxic levels of acutely toxic gases. The potential chronic toxicity of smoke was assessed using the ToxTracker® assay. Smoke samples from rooms with less flame retarded furnishings exhibited a lesser response in this assay than smoke samples from rooms with flame retarded furnishings. Chemicals associated with activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), namely benzo[b]fluoranthene, benzo[a]anthracene, benzo- [a]pyrene, chrysene, and indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, were not found in smoke from more flame retarded furnished rooms, but were present only in smoke from rooms with less flame retarded furnishings. In conclusion, smoke resulting from combustion of flame retarded furnishings did not increase indicators of potential chronic toxicity hazards relative to non-flame retarded furnishings.
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Date of publication: 14 June 2022; Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A
Author information: Thomas G. Osimitz (1), Wiebke Droege (1), Giel Hendriks (2), Matthew S. Blais (3)
(1) Science Strategies, LLC, Charlottesville, VA USA
(2) Toxys B.V., De Limes 7, The Netherlands
(3) Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX USA