Improving substance information in usetox®, part 2: Data for estimating fate and ecosystem exposure factors

Erwan Saouter, Karin Aschberger, Peter Fantke, Michael Zwicky Hauschild, Aude Kienzler, Alicia Paini, Rana Pant, Anita Radovnikovic, Michela Secchi, Serenella Sala

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    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 human and freshwater 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® 1.01 and 2.0 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, additional physicochemical property data and new toxicological end-points 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 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 and the parameters selected 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 factor for freshwater ecotoxicity impacts particularly for persistent highly adsorbing and bio-accumulating substances. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
    Issue number12
    Pages (from-to)3463–3470
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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