An alternative method for fire smoke toxicity assessment using human lung cells

Fatma Lestari, A. R. Green, G. Chattopadhyay, A. J. Hayes

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30 Citations (Scopus)


An alternative method for fire smoke toxicity testing using human lung cells has been investigated. A laboratory-scale vertical tube furnace was used for the generation of combustion products. Experiments were conducted under isothermal oxidative non-flaming conditions. A range of building and train interiors including polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), fiberglass reinforced polymer (FRP), and melamine-faced plywood (MFP) were studied. The exposure of combustion toxicants to human lung cells (A549) at the air/liquid interface was acquired using a Harvard Navicyte Chamber. Cytotoxic effects on human cells were assessed based on cell viability using the MTS assay (Promega). Cytotoxicity results were expressed as NOAEC (No Observable Adverse Effect Concentration), IC10 (10% inhibitory concentration), IC50 (50% inhibitory concentration) and total lethal concentration (TLC) values (mg/L). These cytotoxicity results were compared to published combustion toxicity data. Mass loss data and toxic product yield were also determined. The following toxicity ranking was observed from the most toxic to the least toxic: PVC>PE>PP> FRP-10>PC> FRP-16>MFP. The method described here could potentially be an alternative to current fire toxicity standard test methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-615
Number of pages11
JournalFire Safety Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


  • Combustion products
  • Cytotoxicity of fire smoke
  • Human lung cells A549
  • MTS assay
  • Thermal degradation of polymers


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