Fires with high availability of oxygen burn at a high temperature and with small amount of smoke produced; the particles are mostly composed of ash, or with large temperature differences, of condensed aerosol of water. High temperature also leads to production of nitrogen oxides. Sulfur content yields sulfur dioxide, or in case of incomplete combustion, hydrogen sulfide. Carbon and hydrogen are almost completely oxidized to carbon dioxide and water. Fires burning with lack of oxygen produce a significantly wider palette of compounds, many of them toxic. Partial oxidation of carbon produces carbon monoxide, nitrogen-containing materials can yield hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, and nitrogen oxides. Hydrogen gas can be produced instead of water. Content of halogens such as chlorine (e. g. in polyvinyl chloride or brominated flame retardants) may lead to production of e. g. hydrogen chloride, phosgene, dioxin, and chloromethane, bromomethane and other halocarbons. Hydrogen fluoride can be formed from fluorocarbons, whether fluoropolymers subjected to fire or halocarbon fire suppression agents. Phosphorus and antimony oxides and their reaction products can be formed from some fire retardant additives, increasing smoke toxicity and corrosivity. Pyrolysis of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), e. g. from burning older transformer oil, and to lower degree also of other chlorine-containing materials, can produce 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, a potent carcinogen, and other polychlorinated dibenzodioxins. Pyrolysis of fluoropolymers, e. g. teflon, in presence of oxygen yields carbonyl fluoride (which hydrolyzes readily to HF and CO2); other compounds may be formed as well, e. g. carbon tetrafluoride, hexafluoropropylene, and highly toxic perfluoroisobutene (PFIB).
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