April 5, 2023

096 - Smoke toxicity (Part 1) Why fires used to be less toxic in 1950's? with David Purser

096 - Smoke toxicity (Part 1) Why fires used to be less toxic in 1950's? with David Purser

I have to start with a word of warning, I am extremally hyped about this and upcoming episodes. I think for the first time I have recorded a podcast episode with a ratio of my commentary to the guest 1:5. This is because when you get Prof. David Purser to tell you about toxicology, there is not much to add. It is a story of the history of fire science, difficult discoveries and how a fire scientist had to combine knowledge from multiple fields into useful models. All of this is so that engineers like us won't break their heads trying to cope with the chemistry of fires, but can rely on sound models and simplification which make our professional judgement possible (I won't call it easy...).

Please join me in celebrating Prof Pursers' achievements, including his IAFSS'14 Emmons Plenary Lecture invitation - the biggest honour a fire scientist can achieve. In this episode, you will learn about the differences between material toxicity and toxicity of fires, and how that changed from the 1950s to modern times. You will learn how we have established some rules on the toxic effects of smoke and how the research on this was performed. You will also learn what the FED model is and how it came to life. 

This is Part 1 of the interview. In Part 2 (next week) you will learn more about asphyxiant and irritant gasses, specific molecules that are created in fire smoke and how this knowledge translates to engineering projects. Can't wait for that one too...

If somehow, you want more. There is more. I highly recommend reading David's chapters in the SFPE Handbook, as they are the most condensed pill of knowledge and references on toxicity that you can find anywhere. Here are the links: