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Review of the Literature on the Gaseous Products and Toxicity Generated From the Pyrolysis and Combustion of Rigid Polyurethane Foams.


pdf icon Review of the Literature on the Gaseous Products and Toxicity Generated From the Pyrolysis and Combustion of Rigid Polyurethane Foams. (2966 K)
Paabo, M.; Levin, B. C.

NBSIR 85-3224; 113 p. December 1985.

Fire and Materials, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1-29, March 1987.

Sponsor:

Consumer Product Safety Commission, Bethesda, MD

Available from:

National Technical Information Service
Order number: PB86-151941

Keywords:

carbon monoxide; combustion products; fire retardants; hydrogen cyanides; literature reviews; polyurethane foams; rigid foams; thermal decomposition; toxicity; inhalation toxicity

Abstract:

The literature on rigid polyurethane foam has been reviewed with an emphasis on the gaseous products generated under various thermal decomposition conditions and the toxicity of those products. This review is limited to publications in English through 1984. Carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen cyanide (HCN) were the predominant toxicants found among more than 100 other gaseous products. The generation of CO and HCN was found to increase with increasing combustion temperatures. Many test methods were used to assess the acute inhalation toxicity of combustion products from various rigid polyurethane foams. Lethality, incapacitation, physiological, and biochemical parameters were employed as biological end points. In general, the combustion products generated from rigid polyurethane foam in the flaming mode appear to be more toxic than those produced in the non-flaming mode. The LC50 values for 30 minute exposures ranged from 10 to 17 mg/1 in the flaming mode and were greater than 34 mg/1 in the non-flaming mode. With the exception of one case in which a reactive type phosphorus containing fire retardant was used, the addition of fire retardants to rigid polyurethane foams does not appear to generate unusual toxic combustion products.