LCIA selection methods for assessing toxic releases

Henrik Fred Larsen, Morten Birkved, Michael Zwicky Hauschild

Publikation: AndetAndet bidragForskning


Characterization of toxic emissions in life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is in many cases severely limited by the lack of characterization factors for the emissions mapped in the inventory. The number of substances assigned characterization factors for (eco)toxicity included in the dominating LCA methods in use to day (e.g. Eco-indicator 99 and EDIP) is in the range of 40 – 330 and often they only cover a minor part of the substances in the inventory. The user of the LCA method should in principle be able to calculate any missing factors (if needed substance data are available which is often not fulfilled) but this task is at best very time consuming and often not possible. There seems to be a need for an easy in use and less time consuming selection/screening method based on readily available substance data. The aim of such a selection method is to prioritise those emissions (chemicals) from the inventory that contribute significantly to the impact categories on ecotoxicity and human toxicity to focus the characterisation work. The reason why the selection methods are more important for the chemical-related impact categories than for other impact categories is the extremely high number of substances potentially contributing to these categories. This paper will present the results from an inventory study on the few existing selection methods (i.e. EDIP-selection and priofactor) and a number of relevant candidates (e.g. EURAM, WMPT, Hasse diagram) as basis for developing new selection methods. The methods are evaluated against a set of pre-defined criteria (comprising consistency with characterization and data requirement) and applied to case studies and a test set of chemicals. The reported work is part of the EU-project OMNIITOX.
UdgiverSETAC Europe
StatusUdgivet - 2002
Udgivet eksterntJa


  • Chemicals
  • ecotoxicology
  • Selection methods
  • life cycle impact assessment
  • Human toxicology