IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

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  • 1.
    Halling, Maja
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
    ProScaleE - user needs and perspectives: Interview study for the development of the ProScaleE methodology2024Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The Mistra SafeChem toolbox includes several tools, among them is the ProScale method that was developed as a scoring system based on both hazard and exposure for assessing direct chemical risks to workers, professionals and consumers associated with products in a life cycle perspective. However, a need for a sibling, ProScaleE, that focuses on the effects on the environment was identified. The aim of the task reported herein is to continue the work of developing the ProScaleE method by collecting user needs and perspectives from the members of the ProScale consortium and other stakeholders. The work has been performed by interviews focusing on expectations, thoughts, and ideas on how the ProScaleE method can be developed and what features it should include.  

     

    All interviewed participants expressed a strong need for a tool like ProScaleE and agreed on its value. Due to new upcoming legislative proposals from the EU Commission the interest on environmental effects of chemicals is expected to increase and become an even more important issue for industry. 

    The feasibility and practicability of the tool is of utmost importance. Having a database that already includes the relevant input parameters for different substances would greatly enhance the ease of use. Preferable easily accessible data derived from a common source, such as the REACH should be used. Developing an easy-to-use method is crucial since ProScaleE's target audience should primarily be people without ecotoxicological expertise who need to be able to quickly evaluate chemicals based on H-phrases. 

    While emphasizing the importance of user-friendliness, it is crucial to ensure that the method does not become excessively simplified, resulting in a loss of relevance. To enhance its relevance, more specific data, in addition to H-phrases, such as persistence, bioaccumulation potential, toxicity, mobility, and endocrine disruption, should be included. It is also crucial to incorporate different compartments of the environment, such as water, soil, and air.  

    In short, two types of input data should be needed to evaluate a substance with ProscaleE, information about the intrinsic ecotoxicity of the substances, as described above, and an exposure estimate for the related uses along the entire life cycle. 

    The importance of proper bases of description of the hazard as well as the relevance of the ranking of H-phrases was stressed. It is advisable to utilize the descriptors provided by REACH to ensures consistency and compatibility with existing frameworks and data sources, when developing ProScaleE, not the least consistency with ProScale on human health. The most relevant descriptors to consider would be environmental release categories (ERCs), specific environmental release categories (SPERCs) and risk management measures (RMMs). 

    It is recommended to have the same approach when developing ProscaleE as when ProScale was developed. When developing the method, it is recommended to begin with a simple approach. Starting with a minimum set of parameters, such as H-phrases for environmental effects, allows for initial validation and testing of the method's performance. Once the basic functionality is established and proven successful, additional functions can be added. There is a strong desire for future versions of ProScale and ProScaleE to be seamlessly integrated into Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) software platforms like GaBi or SimaPro. This integration would eliminate the need for duplicative modelling efforts and align with the long-term goal of ProScale to streamline and enhance environmental impact assessments. 

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  • 2.
    Johansson, Kristin
    et al.
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
    Halling, Maja
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
    Celebi, Merve
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
    Rydberg, Tomas
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
    A comparative life cycle assessment and toxicity evaluation of impregnated railway sleepers2023Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    A comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of impregnated wooden sleepers is presented in this report. The included impregnation oils are linseed oil and creosote, and the environmental aspects considered here are climate change, ecotoxicity, human toxicity and the use of fossil resources. 

    The results of the LCA indicate that the carbon footprint of the linseed oil sleeper is equal to or higher than the carbon footprint of creosote. The main contributors to the linseed oil’s carbon footprint are emissions of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide from the use of fertilizers on the farmland and carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels used in tractors, lorries and for the production of steam and electricity used in the production process. 

    Considering the ecotoxicity and human toxicity, the results indicate that the creosote sleeper performs worse than the linseed oil sleeper, which might be expected. However, depending on how the environmental burdens of linseed oil, linseed cake and straw are allocated between them (mass or economical allocation) the results for the linseed oil sleeper vary to a large extent. 

    The results are associated with some uncertainties: for example, no full-scale production plant for linseed oil sleepers exist today meaning that the input data to some extents are based on estimations. To reduce the carbon footprint of sleepers impregnated with linseed oil, a few measures were identified.

    For example, by changing from diesel in tractors and trucks in the agriculture of linseed, as well as natural gas in the production process to renewable fuels. The carbon footprint can also be decreased by reusing the sleepers after their use phase. 

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    A comparative life cycle assessment and toxicity evaluation of impregnated railway sleepers
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