Dr. Anna Stec

Reader in Fire Chemistry and Toxicity

School of Physical Sciences and Computing

JB Firth, 108

+44 (0) 1772 89 3759

Subject Areas: Chemistry, Fire, Forensic Sciences

Dr Anna Stec is the Reader of fire chemistry and toxicity at University of Central Lancashire. Her work has focused on quantification of toxic hazards in fires, understanding the factors that affect fire gas toxicity, and the relationship between the physiological effects of the concentration and dose of different toxicants. She co-edited Woodhead Publishing’s reference work, Fire Toxicity, in 2010.

Anna is research active within the area of fire and hazards science and is a member of the Centre for Fire and Hazards Science.

Full Profile

In the 5 years since joining UCLan, Dr Stec has established the world’s leading group in fire toxicity. She has 50 publications listed on Scopus and 20 invited book chapters. She co-edited the major reference book “Fire Toxicity”, gave presentations at 22 international conferences and chaired 7 conference sessions. In 2013, Dr Stec was invited to be a member of the editorial board of European Journal of Environmental and Safety Sciences, and of the Springer journal Fire Technology.

Dr Stec is the UK’s designated principal expert on Fire Chemistry, and has a leading role in ISO’s Fire Threat to People and the Environment subcommittee (ISO/TC92/SC3) where she has been project leader for three International Standards: Fire Gas Analysis by FTIR; Analysis of soot particles from fires (inhalation toxicology of nanoparticles) and Sampling and analysis of fire effluents which can harm the environment.

Dr Stec represents the UK on the Management Committee of the highly rated EU Flaretex COST MP1105 project, and is scientific coordinator of the “Toxicological and Environmental Aspects” workpackage. She is UCLan’s PI and leader of two workpackages (Representative small scale tests and Modelling and Materials properties assessment) on the €4 million EU DEROCA project (EU FP7 NMP - Project number 308391), developing safer and more eco-friendly flame retardant materials based on carbon nanotube co-additives. In 2011-2014, Dr Stec was PI of an EPSRC project “Measurement and Prediction of Fire Smoke Toxicity of Materials in Enclosures” where she has set up (off-campus) the Large Instrumented Fire Enclosure (LIFE) facility for the fire toxicity assessment. At the same time, she has also been project manager for “NanoHazTool” project, based in China, involving supervision of 2 PDRAs, and 8 RAs.

At UCLan, Dr Stec currently supervises 3 PhD students (and co-supervise another 2) with 10 successful PhD completions and 2 more at MPhil. In June 2012, she was selected for UCLan’s Research Leaders course to fast-track career development. Recently UCLan recognised the importance of Dr Stec work in investment of the staff and infrastructure in order to support her collaborations with commercial, industrial and governmental organisations in fire research and testing

ResearcherID: C-9774-2011;


Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), 2013
Chartered Scientist (CSci), The Science Council, 2011
Chartered Chemist (CChem), Royal Society of Chemistry, 2011
Member of Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC),
Royal Society of Chemistry, 2007
Ph.D. in Fire Chemistry, University of Bolton, UK, 2007
MSc (Eng) in Chemistry with Polymer Technology, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland, 2003


Fellow of the Higher Education Association (FHEA), Member of the Society for Chemical Industry and International Association for Fire Safety Science.


Stec, Anna A, Hull, T Richard, Lebek, K., Purser, J. A. and Purser, D. A. (2008) The effect of temperature and ventilation condition on the toxic product yields from burning polymers. Fire and Materials, 32 (1). pp. 49-60. ISSN 03080501.

A.A.Stec, T.R.Hull, J.A. Purser, D.A. Purser. Comparison of Toxic Product Yields from Bench-Scale to ISO Room. Fire Safety Journal 44, 62– 70, 2009.

Stec, Anna A and Hull, T Richard (2010) Assessment of the fire toxicity of building insulation materials. Energy and Buildings . ISSN 03787788.

A.A. Stec, J. Readman, P. Blomqvist, D. Gylestam, D. Karlsson, D. Wojtalewicz, B.Z. Dlugogorski Analysis of toxic effluents released from PVC carpet under different fire conditions, Chemosphere, 90 (2013) 65–71.

More publications


Fire Toxicity is highly multidisciplinary, ranging from physical science and engineering to analytical chemistry and polymer science to mammalian physiology and toxicology (to understand the effects of, and interactions between toxicants), through to human behaviour and statistical analysis of complex datasets.

Dr Stec's research activities include:

  • Establishing relationships between fire effluent toxicity, material composition, temperature and ventilation conditions (involving burning under controlled conditions, effluent analysis, toxicity and fire modelling).
  • Quantifying the effects of fire retardants and nanofillers on fire effluent toxicity (chemistry and nanoscience).

  • Using Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) for fire gas analysis.
  • Analysing and interpreting data to make comparisons of the fire gases evolved from different standard apparatuses (FTIR, HPIC, HPLC, GCMS, ICPMS, Spectrophotometry, Chemiluminescence, NDIR, EGA).
  • Analysing soot particles from fires (assessment of inhalation toxicology of nanoparticles).
  • Sampling, and analysing fire effluents which can harm the environment (PAHs, heavy metals, isocyanate and dioxin analysis).
  • Quantifying toxic products evolved from different materials under different fire conditions specified in the ISO TS 19700 tube furnace, NF X 70-100 apparatus, AFAP, NBS smoke chamber (ISO 5659), cone calorimeter (ISO 5660), Fire propagation Apparatus (ASTM E 2058) etc.

  • Using the unique Large Instrumented Fire Enclosure Facility (LIFE) facility for investigation of large scale fire behaviour (a fire room connected to the corridor).
  • Measuring smoke and toxic effluents from a large fire in a real two floor house – providing the crucial link between laboratory studies and actual fire deaths in people's homes.
  • Analysing and experimental studying scale up phenomena from bench and large scale test methods.
  • Identifying fire scenarios where sub-lethal exposures to smoke and toxic gases are leading to significant harm, by comparison of predictive calculations (ISO 13571, ISO13344).

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

Dr Stec teaches across undergraduate and postgraduate chemistry, forensic and fire courses on the following modules:

  • Human Response to Fire (FV4401)
  • Forensic Analysis (FZ4501)
  • Forensic Toxicology (FZ3024)
  • Concepts in Chemistry (FZ2027)

Research Groups
  • Centre for Fire and Hazards Sciences;
  • Centre for Materials Science;
  • Institute of Nanotechnology and Bioengineering



Current Projects

EU FP7 NMP (NMP.2012.1.3-1): Development of safer and more Eco-friendly flame Retardant materials based on CNT co-additives for Commodity Applications (DEROCA)

EU COST Action FLARETEX (COST Action number MP1105): Sustainable flame retardancy for textiles and related materials based on nanoparticles substituting conventional chemicals

EPSRC: Measurement and Prediction of Fire Smoke Toxicity of Materials in Enclosures

Development of flammability and toxicity data on novel cable formulations

Fire toxicity of fire retardant materials

Fire toxicity of insulation materials

Development of pyGCMS for analysis of fire effluents

Use of smoke chamber for analysis of fire effluent toxicity

Validation of bench scale fire toxicity assessment by development of a full-scale reference fire scenario

External Activities

UK Management Committee Member and UK representative (MP1105 UK) to COST Action MP1105

EU COST(MP1105) Scientific Coordinator: Toxicological and Environmental Aspects

Editorial board member of Fire Technology Journal

Scientific Committee Member: International Conference Modern Trends of Fire Protection in Rolling Stone and International Scientific and Technical Conference Emergency Evacuation of People From Buildings

Designated representative of the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) to the British Standards (BSI) Hazard to Life from Fire (FSH/16) technical committee

UK’s designated principal expert on fire chemistry to the ISO Fire Threat to People and the Environment subcommittee (ISO/TC92/SC3)


09/2014 Plenary lecture, 8th International Conference on Fire Safety of Buildings, Poland

06/2014 Plenary Lecture, 3rd International Symposium on Flame-Retardant Materials and Technologies, China

02/2014 Lecture, 11th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science University of Canterbury, New Zealand

07/2012 Lecture, 2nd International Symposium on Flame-Retardant Materials and Technologies Chengdu, China

03/2012 Lecture, 243rd National meeting of the American Chemical Society, ACS, San Diego, USA

06/2011 Lecture, 10th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science University of Maryland, USA

06/2011 Lecture, 13th European Meeting on Fire Retardant Polymers, Alessandria, Italy

04/2011 Plenary Lecture, 1st International Scientific and Technical Conference Emergency Evacuation of People From Buildings, Warsaw, Poland

12/2010 Plenary Lecture, 4th International Seminar on Modern Polymeric Materials For Environmental Applications, Cracow, Poland, run together with COST MP0701

09/2010 Lecture, 2010’ International Symposium on Flame-Retardant Materials and Technologies, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

04/2010 Lecture, 6th International Seminar on Fire and Explosion Hazards, Leeds, UK

06/2009 Invited Lecture, 20th Annual Recent Advances in Flame Retardancy of Polymeric Materials, BCC Research, Stamford, USA

04/2009 Invited Lecture, Fire Retardants and Fire Smoke Toxicity, Fire Retardant Technologies, Royal Society of Chemistry, UK

09/2009 Lecture, 12th European Conference on Fire Retardancy of Polymeric Materials, Poznan, Poland

09/2008 Lecture, 9th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science, Karlsruhe, Germany

04/2008 Lecture, 235th National meeting of the American Chemical Society, ACS, New Orleans, USA

07/2007 Lecture, 11th European Conference on Fire Retardancy of Polymeric Materials, Bolton, UK

04/2007 Prize winning Presentation, 5th International Seminar on Fire and Explosion Hazards, Edinburgh, UK