An alternative method for in vitro fire smoke toxicity assessment of polymers and composites using human lung cells has been investigated. A range of building and train interiors including polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC), polymethyl methachrylate (PMMA), 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 no observable adverse effect concentration (NOAEC), 10% inhibitory concentration (IC10), 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50), and total lethal concentration (TLC) values (mg/l). Mass loss data and toxic product yield were also determined. Results suggested that PVC (IC50 1.99 mg/l) was the most toxic materials followed by PP, FRP-16, PC, PMMA, FRP-10, PE, and melamine plywood. Some materials revealed to be more toxic under flaming combustion (PP, PC, FRP-16, and FRP-10), while others (PVC, PMMA, PE, and melamine plywood) appeared more toxic under non-flaming combustion. The method developed can be used to screen the toxicity of materials which would be important information in building and mass transport material selection.
- MTS assay
- combustion products
- cytotoxicity of fire smoke
- human lung cells A549
- thermal degradation of polymers