An extensive literature review was undertaken by Michael A. Pinto CSP, CMP, and David Batts to determine the types and levels of contaminants present in a building following a fire. A thorough review of currently available literature uncovered significant research regarding the sorts of contaminants that are produced during building fires, as well as the type and extent of airborne and surface contaminants that are produced in such conflagrations. A wide variety of noxious materials were identified from multiple studies, with the consistent warning that attempts to fully characterize hazards associated with fires are inherently limited due to the vast array of products that can be impacted and the individual progression that each structure fire takes.
The goal of this literature review was to answer the following questions:
- Are certain harmful contaminants or intermediate compounds typically present in a fire-damaged structure?
- Are environments subject to fire restoration generally safe or generally unsafe during the various stages of restoration work?
- Are certain types of fires or time periods after fires more dangerous than others?
- Is there consensus regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the restoration of fire-damaged buildings?
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Article Published in December 2015 Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) Magazine