Toxicological aspects of fire

Vet Hum Toxicol. 2004 Aug;46(4):196-9.


Most fatalities from fires are not due to burns, but are a result of inhalation of toxic gases produced during combustion. Fire produces a complex toxic environment, involving flame, heat, oxygen depletion, smoke and toxic gases. As a wide variety of synthetic materials is used in buildings (insulation, furniture, carpeting, electric wiring covering, decorative items), the potential for poisoning from inhalation of products of combustion is continuously increasing. In the present review, the problems that are present in a fire event, the toxicology of the toxic substances and the specific chemical hazards to firefighters are described. Regulatory toxicology aspects are presented concerning the use of non-flammable building and furnishing materials to prevent fires and decrease of poisonings and deaths resulting from fires.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Fires*
  • Gas Poisoning / etiology
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*


  • Air Pollutants