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Current issues in the characterisation of toxicological impacts

  • David W. Pennington
Selected Papers
  • 86 Downloads

Abstract

Fate, exposure and effect measures provide a basis for the calculation of characterisation factors in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Such characterisation factors provide insights into the relative concern of chemical emissions within and across life cycle inventories, in the context of toxicological stress to humans and to ecosystems. A brief overview is presented in this paper of the available options for toxicological characterisation and of associated issues that will need to be addressed in future consensus-building initiatives. An introduction is provided to issues such as: (1) the benefit of measures calculated at midpoints versus at endpoints in the toxicological cause-effect chains (sometimes termed environmental mechanisms); (2) the need to use multimedia models with spatial resolution; (3) the political consequences of accounting for variations in population density; (4) uncertainties in the toxicological potency measures; and (5) the different options for the toxicological endpoint measure(s). These issues are addressed under the headings of Fate and Exposure, Human Health and (aquatic) Ecosystem Health.

Keywords

Characterization factors ecotoxicological ecosystems human health InLCA LCIA Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) toxicological impacts 

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Copyright information

© Ecomed Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. Genie Rural, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de LausanneLife Cycle Group for Sustainable Development, GECOSLausanneSwitzerland

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