Title: Improving substance information in USEtox®, Part 2: Data for estimating fate and ecosystem exposure factors
Citation: ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY vol. 36 no. 12 p. 3463-3470
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC104698
ISSN: 0730-7268 (online)
URI: https://setac.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/etc.3903
DOI: 10.1002/etc.3903
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The scientific consensus model USEtox® is developed since 2003 under the auspices of the UNEP-SETAC Life Cycle Initiative as a harmonized approach for characterizing (eco-) toxicity in life cycle assessment (LCA) and other comparative assessment frameworks. Using physicochemical substance properties, USEtox® quantifies potential human toxicity and freshwater ecotoxicity impacts by combining environmental fate, exposure and toxicity effects information, considering multimedia fate and multi-pathway exposure processes. The main source to obtain substance properties for USEtox® is the Estimation Program Interface (EPI SuiteTM) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, since the development of the original USEtox® substance databases, new chemical regulations have been enforced in Europe such as the REACH and the Plant Protection Products regulations. These regulations require that a chemical risk assessment for humans and the environment is performed before a chemical is placed on the European market. Consequently, new end-points and additional physicochemical property data are now available for thousands of chemical substances. The aim of the present study is to explore to which extent the new available data can be used as input for USEtox® – especially for application in Product Environmental Footprint studies – and to discuss how this would influence the quantification of fate and exposure factors. Initial results show that the choice of data source can greatly influence fate and exposure factors leading to potentially different rankings and relative contributions of substances to overall human toxicity and ecotoxicity impacts. Moreover, it is crucial to discuss the relevance of exposure of sediment species for freshwater ecotoxicity impacts particularly for persistent and bio-accumulating substances.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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