On Sunday April 13, 2008 a fire broke out on a grandstand in the Euroborg soccer stadium in Groningen The Netherlands. The polyamide chairs on the grandstand were set on fire and supporters were exposed to the emitted smoke which induced mild health effects. The Dutch government was concerned about potential health risks that such fires could have to exposed fans. Especially the exposure to toxic fumes was considered a risk because prior research has proven that large amounts of chemical compounds are emitted during the burning of chemical substances such as polyamide. Among these emitted compounds are HCN, CO, NO(x), NH(3) and volatile organic compounds. To study if supporters were exposed to hazardous chemical compounds we designed a laboratory controlled replica of a part of the grandstand of the Euroborg stadium to perform fire-experiments. This simulation of the fire under controlled circumstances proved that a wide variety of chemicals were emitted. Especially the emission of CO and NO(x) were high, but also the emission of formaldehyde might be toxicologically relevant. The emission of HCN and NH(3) were less than expected. Exposure assessment suggests that the exposure to NO(x) is the main health risk for the supporters that were present at the Euroborg fire.
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