Life cycle assessment: Development and evolution of methods for addressing heath and environmental life-cycle impacts

Olivier Jolliet, T.E. McKone, Peter Fantke, B.W. Vigon

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Abstract

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) aims to compare environmental impacts of products and services on a functional basis. With life-cycle inventories established, LCA must provide in its Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) phase impact factors per kg of chemical emission/extracted resources, expressed in term of impacts on human health, ecosystem quality, or resources depletion. In this presentation, we track the development and evolution of LCIA methods over three decades and focus on the role of SETAC in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program in forming the Life-Cycle Initiative to establish, interpret, and disseminate a globally harmonized LCIA approach. The Initiative has hosted a series of complementary efforts for LCIA consensus building, striving for recommendations and guidance on LCIA methods and factors. SETAC conferences and Pellston Workshops have provided important venues for the Initiative process. Three rounds of SETAC working groups have resulted in category-specific recommendations for developing LCIA impact indicators, taking advantage of broader consensus efforts, such as the World Health Organization, USEPA, and EU health risk assessment efforts. A combination of academic, government, and industry experts have participated in these efforts. As an informative example we will review the development and dissemination of the USEtox global scientific consensus model, which provides LCIA characterization factors for human toxicity and ecotoxicity, and which is now used worldwide. It is the default tool in both the European Union and North America. We conclude by considering future needs and opportunities for LCIA with a focus on the continuing role of SETAC.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbstract book of Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America 40th Annual Meeting
Publication date2019
Pages33-33
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventSociety of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America 40th Annual Meeting - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 3 Nov 20197 Nov 2019
Conference number: 40

Conference

ConferenceSociety of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America 40th Annual Meeting
Number40
CountryCanada
CityToronto
Period03/11/201907/11/2019

Cite this

Jolliet, O., McKone, T. E., Fantke, P., & Vigon, B. W. (2019). Life cycle assessment: Development and evolution of methods for addressing heath and environmental life-cycle impacts. In Abstract book of Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America 40th Annual Meeting (pp. 33-33)