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Life Cycle Assessment of Additives: Methodology and Data

  • Ester van der VoetEmail author
  • Lauran van Oers
  • Tomas Rydberg
  • Jenny Westerdahl
  • Henrik Fred Larsen
Chapter
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 23)

Abstract

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a useful tool to assess impacts of cradle-to-grave chains of products/services. In the Riskcycle framework, the focus is on additives. Additives are usually minor constituents of products, but depending on their specific properties they can be important in the total scope of impacts of such products. In the LCA literature, additives are hardly visible. Most case studies of products containing additives do not mention them. The reasons for this are unclear, but are at least partly due to the fact that information on additives is not included in standard LCA databases. This is true for both life cycle inventory (LCI) and life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) databases. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude whether or not additives indeed are important contributors to environmental impacts over the life cycle.

In the Riskcycle project, we have addressed these knowledge gaps for two categories of materials: plastics and paper (printed matter). Case studies have been conducted for products containing those materials (Larsen, 2012, Case study on printed matter, Hdb Env Chem; van Oers and van der Voet, 2012, LCA case study cushion vinyl floor covering and DEHP, Hdb Env Chem). A coherent attempt has been made to derive LCIA factors for toxicity for a large number of plastics- and paper-related additives (Åström et al., 2012, Are chemicals in products good or bad for the society? – the economic perspective, Hdb Env Chem. doi: 10.1007/698_2012_184). In this chapter, we summarize and generalize these findings and try to establish a coherent framework for LCA studies of products containing additives. In this framework, we distinguish three relevant levels that have to be part of such LCA studies: the product level, the material level and the additive level. We also establish the relation of LCA toxicity assessments with risk-based approaches.

Keywords

Additives Life Cycle Assessment LCI data LCIA data Plastics Paper 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ester van der Voet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lauran van Oers
    • 1
  • Tomas Rydberg
    • 2
  • Jenny Westerdahl
    • 2
  • Henrik Fred Larsen
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of ScienceLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.IVLSwedish Environmental Research Institute LTDStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Danish Ministry of TransportHedehuseneDenmark

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