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OMNIITOX concept model supports characterisation modelling for life cycle impact assessment

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Goal Scope Background

The main focus in OMNIITOX is on characterisation models for toxicological impacts in a life cycle assessment (LCA) context. The OMNIITOX information system (OMNIITOX IS) is being developed primarily to facilitate characterisation modelling and calculation of characterisation factors to provide users with information necessary for environmental management and control of industrial systems. The modelling and implementation of operational characterisation models on eco and human toxic impacts requires the use of data and modelling approaches often originating from regulatory chemical risk assessment (RA) related disciplines. Hence, there is a need for a concept model for the data and modelling approaches that can be interchanged between these different contexts of natural system model approaches. Methods. The concept modelling methodology applied in the OMNIITOX project is built on database design principles and ontological principles in a consensus based and iterative process by participants from the LCA, RA and environmental informatics disciplines. Results. The developed OMNIITOX concept model focuses on the core concepts of substance, nature framework, load, indicator, and mechanism, with supplementary concepts to support these core concepts. They refer to the modelled cause, effect, and the relation between them, which are aspects inherent in all models used in the disciplines within the scope of OMNIITOX. This structure provides a possibility to compare the models on a fundamental level and a language to communicate information between the disciplines and to assess the possibility of transparently reusing data and modelling approaches of various levels of detail and complexity.


The current experiences from applying the concept model show that the OMNIITOX concept model increases the structuring of all information needed to describe characterisation models transparently. From a user perspective the OMNIITOX concept model aids in understanding the applicability, use of a characterisation model and how to interpret model outputs.

Recommendations and Outlook

The concept model provides a tool for structured characterisation modelling, model comparison, model implementation, model quality management, and model usage. Moreover, it could be used for the structuring of any natural environment cause-effect model concerning other impact categories than toxicity.

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Correspondence to Raul Carlson or Maria Erixon or Ann-Christin Pålsson or Johan Tivander.

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Carlson, R., Erixon, M., Pålsson, A. et al. OMNIITOX concept model supports characterisation modelling for life cycle impact assessment. Int J LCA 9, 289 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02979418

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  • Characterisation model
  • concept model
  • informatics
  • information system