A novel Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) model has been defined for the determination of the environmental cost of measures taken to attain a high level of fire safety. In one application of the model the fire safety performance of the product modelled is attained through the inclusion of an additive to the polymeric material used to manufacture the product.
Fire model

This study represents the first full application of the LCA model as defined above. This case study concentrates on a comparison between a TV with an enclosure manufactured from V0 rated High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS, typical for the US market) and one with HB rated HIPS (typical for the European market). A fire model has been defined based on international statistics, which indicate that use of V0 rated enclosure material essentially removes the risk of TV fires while approximately 165 TV fires occur per million TVs in Europe each year (where the enclosure material is breached). Full details of the statistical model can be found in reference [1]. The Fire-LCA application to the TV Case Study, and in particular the statistical fire model, has been criticised. Answers to the main questions raised have therefore been posted here.

Unique experiments

Large-scale experiments were conducted, on both free burning TVs and fully furnished lounge rooms, to provide fire emission data as input to the LCA model. Species measured include acute toxicants such as: CO, CO2, HCl, HBr, Sb, VOC (volatile organic compounds), and chronic toxicants such as PAH (polycyclic aromatic compounds), PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls), brominated and chlorinated dibenzodioxins and furans, and the flame retardant used in the V0 enclosure, decabromodiphenylether (deca-BDE). These results are the most detailed measurements of their kind and provide a realistic measure of the environmental cost of a high level of fire safety. Full details of the fire tests can be found in reference [2]. Full details of the study can be found in SP Report 2000:13 and in a peer reviewed publication [3].

Report and references

Full details of the project results are available in SP Report 2000:13.

  1. 1. M. De Poortere, C. Schonbach, and M. Simonson, "The Fire Safety of TV Set Enclosure Materials, A Survey of European Statistics", Fire and Materials, 24, 53-60 (2000).
  2. P. Blomqvist, L. Rosell and M. Simonson, "Emissions from Fires part I: Fire retarded and non-Fire retarded TV-sets", submitted to Fire Technology 2002.
    P. Blomqvist, L. Rosell and M. Simonson, "Emissions from Fires part II: Simulated Room Fires", submitted to Fire Technology 2002.
  3. M. Simonson, C. Tullin and H. Stripple, "Fire-LCA study of TV sets with V0 and HB enclosure material", Chemosphere, 46, 737-744, 2002.

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Petra Andersson

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RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Phone 010-516 50 00, E-mail

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