How Design Materials Turn Toxic During a Fire

11/22/2019 By Sarah Kloepple

As wildfire season continues in California, it’s important to be aware of the less-obvious hazards of wildfires (and building fires in general). Buildings that end up being destroyed and burned can emit hazardous toxins from different kinds of materials when they burn, including carpeting and piping. 

This can create serious health concerns for occupants, first responders and even the surrounding community.

Kathleen Hetrick, a senior sustainability engineer with BuroHappold, discusses her research on this topic, how to tell whether or not a material is toxic and the importance of lifecycle assessments.

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