John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Exploring reach as potential data source for characterizing ecotoxicity in life cycle assessment

Toxicity models in life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) currently only characterize a small fraction of marketed substances. This is mainly due to limitations in the underlying ecotoxicity data. One approach to improve the current data situation in LCIA is to explore new data sources, such as the European database of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). The authors explored REACH as potential data source for LCIA based on matching reported ecotoxicity data for substances that are currently also included in the UNEP/SETAC scientific consensus model USEtox for characterizing human toxicity and ecotoxicity impacts in LCIA. Data are evaluated with respect to number of data points, reported reliability and test duration, and are compared with data listed in USEtox at the level of hazardous concentrations per substance. The authors' results emphasize deviations between data available in REACH and USEtox. The comparison of ecotoxicity data in REACH and USEtox shows the general potential of REACH ecotoxicity data to be used in LCIA toxicity characterization, but also highlights issues related to compliance with REACH reporting requirements and different assumptions underlying REACH as regulatory risk assessment support database and LCIA. The authors recommend to systematically investigate current quality‐, extrapolation‐, and applicability‐related issues, before considering REACH as data source for use in LCIA and to also look at additionally available databases, published studies and reports. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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