Organic contaminants formed during fire extinguishing using different firefighting methods assessed by nontarget analysis

Florian Dubocq, Filip Bjurlid, Danielle Ydstal, Ivan A. Titaley, Eric Reiner, Thanh Wang, Xavier Ortiz Almirall, Anna Karrman

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


During a fire event, potentially hazardous chemicals are formed from the combustion of burning materials and are released to the surrounding environment, both via gas and soot particles. The aim of this investigation was to study if firefighting techniques influence the emission of chemicals in gas phase and soot particles. Five full-scale fire tests were extinguished using four different firefighting techniques. A nontarget chemical analysis approach showed that important contaminants in gas and soot separating the different tests were brominated flame retardants (BERs), organophosphate flame retardants (OPFR), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and linear hydrocarbons. Reproducibility was evaluated by a field replicate test and it was determined that the temperature curve during the event had a bigger impact on the released chemicals than the firefighting technique used. However, despite fire intensity being a confounding factor, multivariate statistics concluded that water mist with additive resulted in less BFR emissions compared to foam extinguishing. The analysis also showed that the conventional spray nozzle method released more PAHs compared with the water mist method. The comprehensive chemical analysis of gas and soot released during fire events was able to show that different firefighting techniques influenced the release of chemicals. (C) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114834
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue numberPart A
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemical emission
  • Controlled fire events
  • Extinguishing methods
  • High resolution mass spectrometry
  • Mass defect plot


Dive into the research topics of 'Organic contaminants formed during fire extinguishing using different firefighting methods assessed by nontarget analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this