Fire smoke toxicity has been a recurring theme for fire safety professionals for over four decades. There especially continue to be difficulty and controversy to assessing and addressing the contribution of the sublethal effects of smoke in hazard and risk analyses. The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and NFPA have begun a private/public fire research initiative, the "International Study of the Sublethal Effects of Fire Smoke on Survival and Health" (SEFS) to provide scientific information on these effects for public policy makers. The papers in this issue of Fire Technology present results from the first phase of the project: estimates of the magnitude and impact of sublethal exposures to fire smoke on the U.S. population, the best available lethal and incapacitating toxic potency values for the smoke from commercial products, the potential for various sizes of fires to produce smoke yields that could result in sublethal health effects, and state-of-the-art information on the production of the condensed components of smoke from fires and their evolutionary changes during transport from the fire. © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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