When buildings burn, the burning materials generate highly toxic carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen cyanide (HCN) gases, which can be fatal upon ingestion. Once inhaled, these gases bind strongly to hemoglobin, cytochromes, and iron containing compounds known as hemes, and block normal aerobic respiration. It is believed that once an individual is exposed to these life-threatening toxins, it is impossible to effectively remove them from the body. In fact, at present, there is no therapeutic approach available to overcome simultaneous CO and HCN poisoning. This poses a significant challenge in saving lives of people exposed to toxic gases in building fires.  Read More 

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