Development of Comparative Toxicity Potentials of 14 cationic metals in freshwater

Yan Dong, Nilima Gandhi, Michael Zwicky Hauschild

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Site-dependent and site-generic Comparative Toxicity Potentials (CTPs) (also known as Characterization Factors (CFs)) were calculated for 14 cationic metals (Al(III), Ba, Be, Cd, Co, Cr(III), Cs, Cu(II), Fe(II), Fe(III), Mn(II), Ni, Pb, Sr and Zn), to be applied in Life Cycle Impact Assessment. CTPs were calculated for 7 EUarchetypes, taking bioavailability and speciation pattern into account. The resulting site-dependent CTPs showed up to 2.4–6.5 orders of magnitude variation across archetypes for those metals that form stable hydroxyl compounds in slightly alkaline waters (Al(III), Be, Cr(III), Cu(II) and Fe(III)), emphasizing the importance of using site-dependent CTPs for these metals where possible. For the other metals, CTPs stayed within around 0.9 orders of magnitude, making spatial differentiation less important. In acidic waters (pH < 6.4), Al(III) and Cu(II) had the highest CTPs, while Cd ranked highest in other waters. Based on the site-dependent CTPs, site-generic CTPs were developed applying different averaging principle. Emission weighted average of 7 EU-archetype CTPs was recommended as site-generic CTP for use in LCA studies, where receiving location is unclear. Compared to previous studies by Gandhi et al. (2010, 2011a), new site-dependent CTPs were similar or slightly higher for Cd, Co, Ni, Pb and Zn, but 1–2 orders of magnitude higher for Cu. Compared to the default site-generic CTPs in the frequently used characterization models USES-LCA and USEtox, new site-generic CTPs were mostly higher or similar, within up to ∼2 orders of magnitude difference.
    © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)26-33
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • CTP
    • Ecotoxicity
    • life cycle impact assessment
    • Speciation
    • LCIA
    • Archetype

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