What is toxicity?

Smoke is probably the best-known side effect of fires - and the most dangerous. In fact, smoke and fumes are the cause of most injuries and deaths (smoke poisoning) in a fire, rather than the heat or flames themselves. Not only do acutely toxic smoke gases contribute to toxicity, but they also irritate mucous membranes and respiratory tracts and can cause drowsiness. High smoke toxicity leads to severe irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, drowsiness or even unconsciousness, so that victims cannot escape.


Range of services of our fire laboratory

We test the toxicity of smoke gases on smoke collected in the smoke density chamber. In this process, a small amount of smoke is examined by infrared spectroscopy for the following toxic combustion products.

The lower the reference concentration of a component, the more dangerous it is. From the ratio of the determined concentrations of the individual components and the respective reference concentrations, the "Conventional Toxicity Index" (CIT) is calculated as a sum parameter in some tests. Another sum parameter for assessing toxicity is the proportional effective dose. The risk from the toxicity of flue gases is limited by maximum permissible values for these sum parameters.

In some areas, such as shipping, maximum permissible concentrations are set for each of the listed components instead of a sum parameter.


Chemical formulaDesignationReference concentration in mg/m³
CO2Carbon dioxide72000
COCarbon monoxide1380
HBrHydrogen bromide99
HClHydrogen chloride75
HCNHydrogen cyanide55
HFHydrogen fluoride25
NOxNitrogen oxides38
SO2Sulphur dioxide262

What are the advantages of toxicity testing?

Toxicity tests allow you to evaluate the ability of your materials to help keep affected people safe by releasing toxic fire gases at a low or late rate. This requirement is placed on materials used in rail vehicles and ships. Use our toxicity tests and obtain the necessary proof with our test reports that the required limits for the concentrations of toxic fire gases are complied with.

Are you in need of toxicity testing?

We would gladly support you. Contact us for testing.

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