[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Implementation of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) will increase water demand due to the cooling water requirements of CO2 capture equipment. If the captured CO2 is injected into saline aquifers for sequestration, brine may be extracted to manage the aquifer pressure, and can be desalinated to provide additional freshwater supply. We conduct a geospatial analysis to determine how CCS may affect local water supply and demand across the contiguous United States. We calculate baseline indices for each county in the year 2005, and project future water supply and demand with and without CCS through 2030. We conduct sensitivity analyses to identify the system parameters that most significantly affect water balance. Water supply changes due to inter-annual variability and projected climate change are overwhelmingly the most significant sources of variation. CCS can have strong local effects on water supply and demand, but overall it has a modest effect on water balances.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Environmental Modelling and Software
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose
The life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) guidance flagship project of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Life Cycle Initiative aims at providing global guidance and building scientific consensus on environmental LCIA indicators. This paper presents the progress made since 2013, preliminary results obtained for each impact category and the description of a rice life cycle assessment (LCA) case study designed to test and compare LCIA indicators.
The effort has been focused in a first stage on impacts of global warming, fine particulate matter emissions, water use and land use, plus cross-cutting issues and LCA-based footprints. The paper reports the process and progress and specific results obtained in the different task forces (TFs). Additionally, a rice LCA case study common to all TF has been developed. Three distinctly different scenarios of producing and cooking rice have been defined and underlined with life cycle inventory data. These LCAs help testing impact category indicators which are being developed and/or selected in the harmonisation process. The rice LCA case study further helps to ensure the practicality of the finally recommended impact category indicators.
Results and discussion
The global warming TF concludes that analysts should explore the sensitivity of LCA results to metrics other than GWP. The particulate matter TF attained initial guidance of how to include health effects from PM2.5 exposures consistently into LCIA. The biodiversity impacts of land use TF suggests to consider complementary metrics besides species richness for assessing biodiversity loss. The water use TF is evaluating two stress-based metrics, AWaRe and an alternative indicator by a stakeholder consultation. The cross-cutting issues TF agreed upon maintaining disability-adjusted life years (DALY) as endpoint unit for the safeguard subject “human health”. The footprint TF defined main attributes that should characterise all footprint indicators. “Rice cultivation” and “cooking” stages of the rice LCA case study contribute most to the environmental impacts assessed.
The results of the TF will be documented in white papers and some published in scientific journals. These white papers represent the input for the Pellston workshop™, taking place in Valencia, Spain, from 24 to 29 January 2016, where best practice, harmonised LCIA indicators and an update on the general LCIA framework will be discussed and agreed on. With the diversity in results and the multi-tier supply chains, the rice LCA case study is well suited to test candidate recommended indicators and to ensure their applicability in common LCA case studies.
No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Little information is available about air quality in early childhood education (ECE) facilities. We collected single-day air samples in 2010-2011 from 40 ECE facilities serving children < 6 years old in California and applied new methods to evaluate cancer risk in young children. Formaldehyde and acetaldehyde were detected in 100% of samples. The median (max) indoor formaldehyde and acetaldehyde levels (μg/m(3) ) were 17.8 (48.8) and 7.5 (23.3), respectively, and were comparable to other California schools and homes. Formaldehyde and acetaldehyde concentrations were inversely associated with air exchange rates (Pearson r=-0.54 and -0.63, respectively; p<0.001). The buildings and furnishings were generally >5 years old, suggesting other indoor sources. Formaldehyde levels exceeded California 8-hour and chronic Reference Exposure Levels (both 9 μg/m(3) ) for non-cancer effects in 87.5% of facilities. Acetaldehyde levels exceeded the U.S. EPA Reference Concentration in 30% of facilities. If reflective of long-term averages, estimated exposures would exceed age-adjusted "safe harbor levels" based on California's Proposition 65 guidelines (10(-5) lifetime cancer risk). Additional research is needed to identify sources of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde and strategies to reduce indoor air levels. The impact of recent California and proposed U.S. EPA regulations to reduce formaldehyde levels in future construction should be assessed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose
As a class of environmental metrics, footprints have been poorly defined, have shared an unclear relationship to life cycle assessment (LCA), and the variety of approaches to quantification have sometimes resulted in confusing and contradictory messages in the marketplace. In response, a task force operating under the auspices of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative project on environmental life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) has been working to develop generic guidance for developers of footprint metrics. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a universal footprint definition and related terminology as well as to discuss modelling implications.
The task force has worked from the perspective that footprints should be based on LCA methodology, underpinned by the same data systems and models as used in LCA. However, there are important differences in purpose and orientation relative to LCA impact category indicators. Footprints have a primary orientation toward society and nontechnical stakeholders. They are also typically of narrow scope, having the purpose of reporting only in relation to specific topics. In comparison, LCA has a primary orientation toward stakeholders interested in comprehensive evaluation of overall environmental performance and trade-offs among impact categories. These differences create tension between footprints, the existing LCIA framework based on the area of protection paradigm and the core LCA standards ISO14040/44.
Results and discussion
In parallel to area of protection, we introduce area of concern as the basis for a universal footprint definition. In the same way that LCA uses impact category indicators to assess impacts that follow a common cause-effect pathway toward areas of protection, footprint metrics address areas of concern. The critical difference is that areas of concern are defined by the interests of stakeholders in society rather than the LCA community. In addition, areas of concern are stand-alone and not necessarily part of a framework intended for comprehensive environmental performance assessment. The area of concern paradigm is needed to support the development of footprints in a way that fulfils their distinctly different purpose. It is also needed as a mechanism to extricate footprints from some of the provisions of ISO 14040/44 which are not considered relevant. Specific issues are identified in relation to double counting, aggregation and the selection of relevant indicators.
The universal footprint definition and related terminology introduced in this paper create a foundation that will support the development of footprint metrics in parallel with LCA.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5 ) is a major contributor to the global human disease burden. The indoor environment is of particular importance when considering the health effects associated with PM2.5 exposures because people spend the majority of their time indoors and PM2.5 exposures per unit mass emitted indoors are two to three orders of magnitude larger than exposures to outdoor emissions. Variability in indoor PM2.5 intake fraction (iFin,total ), which is defined as the integrated cumulative intake of PM2.5 per unit of emission, is driven by a combination of building-specific, human-specific, and pollutant-specific factors. Due to a limited availability of data characterizing these factors, however, indoor emissions and intake of PM2.5 are not commonly considered when evaluating the environmental performance of product life cycles. With the aim of addressing this barrier, a literature review was conducted and data characterizing factors influencing iFin,total were compiled. In addition to providing data for the calculation of iFin,total in various indoor environments and for a range geographic regions, this paper discusses remaining limitations to the incorporation of PM2.5 -derived health impacts into life cycle assessments and makes recommendations regarding future research. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human exposure to indoor pollutant concentrations is receiving increasing interest in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). We address this issue by incorporating an indoor compartment into the USEtox model, as well as by providing recommended parameter values for households in four different regions of the world differing geographically, economically, and socially. With these parameter values, intake fractions and comparative toxicity potentials for indoor emissions of dwellings for different air tightness levels were calculated. The resulting intake fractions for indoor exposure vary by two orders of magnitude, due to the variability of ventilation rate, building occupation and volume. To compare health impacts as a result of indoor exposure with those from outdoor exposure, the indoor exposure characterization factors determined with the modified USEtox model were applied in a case study on cooking in non-OECD countries. This study demonstrates the appropriateness and significance of integrating indoor environments into LCA, which ensures a more holistic account of all exposure environments and allows for a better accountability of health impacts. The model, intake fractions, and characterization factors are made available for use in standard LCA studies via www.usetox.org and in standard LCA software.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Environmental Science & Technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because recent laboratory testing indicates that some low vapor pressure-volatile organic compounds (LVP-VOC) solvents readily evaporate at ambient conditions, LVP-VOCs used in some consumer product formulations may contribute to ozone formation. The goal of this study is to determine the fraction of LVP-VOCs available for ozone formation from the use of consumer products for two hypothetical emissions. This study calculates and compares the fraction of consumed product available for ozone formation as a result of (a) volatilization to air during use and (b) down-the-drain disposal. The study also investigates the impact of different modes of releases on the overall fraction available in ambient air for ozone formation. For the portion of the LVP-VOCs volatilized to air during use, we applied a multi-compartment mass-balance model to track the fate of emitted LVP-VOCs in a multimedia urban environment. For the portion of the LVP-VOCs disposed down the drain, we used a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) fate model to predict the emission rates of LVP-VOCs to ambient air at WWTPs or at the discharge zone of the facilities and then used these results as emissions in the multimedia urban environment model. In a WWTP, the LVP-VOCs selected in this study are primarily either biodegraded or removed via sorption to sludge depending on the magnitude of the biodegradation half-life and the octanol-water partition coefficient. Less than 0.2% of the LVP-VOCs disposed down the drain are available for ozone formation. In contrast, when the LVP-VOC in a consumer product is volatilized from the surface to which it has been applied, greater than 90% is available for photochemical reactions either at the source location or in the downwind areas. Comparing results from these two modes of releases allows us to understand the importance of determining the fraction of LVP-VOCs volatilized versus disposed down the drain when the product is used by consumers. The results from this study provide important information and modeling tools to evaluate the impact of LVP-VOCs on air quality and suggest the need for future research on emissions of LVP-VOCs at the point of use.
Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Atmospheric Environment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a risk-based high-throughput screening (HTS) method to identify chemicals for potential health concerns or for which additional information is needed. The method is applied to 180 organic chemicals as a case study. We first obtain information on how the chemical is used and identify relevant use scenarios (e.g., dermal application, indoor emissions). For each chemical and use scenario, exposure models are then used to calculate a chemical intake fraction, or a product intake fraction, accounting for chemical properties and the exposed population. We then combine these intake fractions with use scenario-specific estimates of chemical quantity to calculate daily intake rates (iR; mg/kg/day). These intake rates are compared to oral equivalent doses (OED; mg/kg/day), calculated from a suite of ToxCast in vitro bioactivity assays using in vitro-to-in vivo extrapolation and reverse dosimetry. Bioactivity quotients (BQs) are calculated as iR/OED to obtain estimates of potential impact associated with each relevant use scenario. Of the 180 chemicals considered, 38 had maximum iRs exceeding minimum OEDs (i.e., BQs >1). For most of these compounds, exposures are associated with direct intake, food/oral contact, or direct exposure. The method provides high-throughput estimates of exposure and important input for decision makers to identify chemicals of concern for further evaluation with additional information or more refined models.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is considered to be one of the most important environmental factors contributing to the global human disease burden. However, due to the lack of broad consensus and harmonization in the life cycle assessment (LCA) community, there is no clear guidance on how to consistently include health effects from PM2.5 exposure in LCA practice. As a consequence, different models are currently used to assess life cycle impacts for PM2.5, sometimes leading to inconsistent results. In a global effort initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Life Cycle Initiative, respiratory inorganics’ impacts expressed as health effects from PM2.5 exposure were selected as one of the initial impact categories to undergo review with the goal of providing global guidance for implementation in life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). The goal of this paper is to summarize the current knowledge and practice for assessing health effects from PM2.5 exposure and to provide recommendations for their consistent integration into LCIA. Methods A task force on human health impacts was convened to build the framework for consistently quantifying health effects from PM2.5 exposure and for recommending PM2.5 characterization factors. In an initial Guidance Workshop, existing literature was reviewed and input from a broad range of internationally recognized experts was obtained and discussed. Workshop objectives were to identify the main scientific questions and challenges for quantifying health effects from PM2.5 exposure and to provide initial guidance to the impact quantification process. Results and discussion A set of 10 recommendations was developed addressing (a) the general framework for assessing PM2.5-related health effects, (b) approaches and data to estimate human exposure to PM2.5 using intake fractions, and (c) approaches and data to characterize exposure-response functions (ERFs) for PM2.5 and to quantify severity of the diseases attributed to PM2.5 exposure. Despite these advances, a number of complex issues, such as those related to nonlinearity of the ERF and the possible need to provide different ERFs for use in different geographical regions, require further analysis. Conclusions and outlook Questions of how to refine and improve the overall framework were analyzed. Data and models were proposed for harmonizing various elements of the health impact pathways for PM2.5. Within the next two years, our goal is to build a global guidance framework and to determine characterization factors that are more reliable for incorporating the health effects from exposure to PM2.5 into LCIA. Ideally, this will allow quantification of the impacts of both indoor and outdoor exposures to PM2.5.
No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We assessed the chronic health risks from inhalation exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM2.5) in U.S. offices, schools, grocery, and other retail stores, and evaluated how chronic health risks were affected by changes in ventilation rates and air filtration efficiency. Representative concentrations of VOCs and PM2.5 were obtained from available data. Using a mass balance model, changes in exposure to VOCs and PM2.5 were predicted if ventilation rate were to increase or decrease by a factor of two, and if higher efficiency air filters were used. Indoor concentrations were compared to health guidelines to estimate percentage exceedances. The estimated chronic health risks associated with VOC and PM2.5 exposures in these buildings were low relative to the risks from exposures in homes. Chronic health risks were driven primarily by exposures to PM2.5 that were evaluated using disease incidence of mortality, chronic bronchitis, and nonfatal stroke. The leading cancer risk factor was exposure to formaldehyde. Using disability adjusted life years (DALYs) to account for both cancer and non-cancer effects, results suggest that increasing ventilation alone is ineffective at reducing chronic health burdens. Other strategies, such as pollutant source control and the use of particle filtration, should also be considered.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cellulosic ethanol can achieve estimated greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions reductions greater than 80% relative to gasoline, largely due to
the combustion of lignin for process heat and electricity in biorefineries.
Most studies assume lignin is combusted onsite, but exporting lignin to be
co-fired at coal power plants has the potential to substantially reduce
biorefinery capital costs. We assess the life-cycle GHG emissions, water use,
and capital costs associated with four representative biorefinery test cases.
Each case is evaluated in the context of a US national scenario in which corn
stover, wheat straw, and Miscanthus are converted to 1.4 EJ (60 billion
liters) of ethanol annually. Life-cycle GHG emissions range from 4.7 to 61 g
CO2e/MJ of ethanol (compared to approximately 95 g CO2e/MJ of
gasoline), depending on biorefinery configurations and marginal electricity
sources. Exporting lignin can achieve GHG emissions reductions comparable to
onsite combustion in some cases, reduce life-cycle water consumption by up to
40\%, and reduce combined heat and power-related capital costs by up to 63%.
However, nearly 50% of current US coal-fired power generating capacity is
expected to be retired by 2050, which will limit the capacity for lignin
co-firing and may double transportation distances between biorefineries and
coal power plants.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Information about the distribution of chemical-production mass with respect to use and release is a major and unavailable input for calculating population-scale exposure estimates. Based on exposure models and biomonitoring data, this study evaluates the distribution of total production volumes (and environmental releases if applicable) for a suite of organic compounds. We used Bayesian approaches that take the total intake from our exposure models as the prior intake distribution and the intake inferred from measured biomarker concentrations in the NHANES survey as the basis for updating. By carrying out a generalized sensitivity analysis, we separated the input parameters for which the modeled range of the total intake is within a factor of 2 of the intake inferred from biomonitoring data and those that result in a range greater than a factor of 2 of the intake. This analysis allows us to find the most sensitive (or important) parameters and the likelihood of emission rates for various source emission categories. Pie charts of contribution from each exposure pathway indicate that chemical properties are a primary determinant of the relative contribution of each exposure pathway within a given class of compounds. For compounds with relatively high octanol-water partition coefficients (Kow) such as di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), pyrene, 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (PBDE-47), and 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexabromodiphenyl ether (PBDE-153), more than 80% of exposure derives from outdoor food ingestion and/or indoor dust ingestion. In contrast, for diethyl phthalate (DEP), di-iso-butyl phthalate (DiBP), di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP), butylbenzyl phthalate (BBP), and naphthalene, all relatively volatile compounds, either inhalation (indoor and outdoor) or dermal uptake from direct consumer use is the dominant exposure pathway. The approach of this study provides insights on confronting data gaps to improve population-scale exposure estimates used for high-throughput chemical prioritization.
No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Environment International
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Approximately 13 million U.S. children less than 6 years old spend some time in early childhood education (ECE) facilities where they may be exposed to potentially harmful chemicals during critical periods of development. We measured five phthalate esters in indoor dust (n = 39) and indoor and outdoor air (n = 40 and 14, respectively) at ECE facilities in Northern California. Dust and airborne concentrations were used to perform a probabilistic health risk assessment to compare estimated exposures with risk levels established for chemicals causing reproductive toxicity and cancer under California's Proposition 65. Di(2-ethyl hexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and butyl benzyl phthalate (BBzP) were the dominant phthalates present in floor dust (medians = 172.2 and 46.8 μg/g, respectively), and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), and diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP) (medians = 0.52, 0.21, and 0.10 μg/m3, respectively) were the dominant phthalates in indoor air. The risk assessment results indicate that 82-89% of children in California ECE had DBP exposure estimates exceeding reproductive health benchmarks. Further, 8-11% of children less than 2 years old had DEHP exposure estimates exceeding cancer benchmarks. This is the largest study to measure phthalate exposure in U.S. ECE facilities and findings indicate wide phthalate contamination and potential risk to developing children.v.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Environmental Science and Technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infants and young children spend as much as 50h per week in child care and preschool. Although approximately 13 million children, or 65% of all U.S. children, spend some time each day in early childhood education (ECE) facilities, little information is available about environmental exposures in these environments. We measured flame retardants in air and dust collected from 40 California ECE facilities between May 2010 and May 2011. Low levels of six polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners and four non-PBDE flame retardants were present in air, including two constituents of Firemaster 550 and two tris phosphate compounds [tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) and tris (1,3-dichloroisopropyl) phosphate (TDCIPP)]. Tris phosphate, Firemaster 550 and PBDE compounds were detected in 100% of the dust samples. BDE47, BDE99, and BDE209 comprised the majority of the PBDE mass measured in dust. The median concentrations of TCEP (319ngg(-1)) and TDCIPP (2265ngg(-1)) were similar to or higher than any PBDE congener. Levels of TCEP and TDCIPP in dust were significantly higher in facilities with napping equipment made out of foam (Mann-Whitney p-values<0.05). Child BDE99 dose estimates exceeded the RfD in one facility for children<3years old. In 51% of facilities, TDCIPP dose estimates for children<6years old exceeded age-specific "No Significant Risk Levels (NSRLs)" based on California Proposition 65 guidelines for carcinogens. Given the overriding interest in providing safe and healthy environments for young children, additional research is needed to identify strategies to reduce indoor sources of flame retardant chemicals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this article is to help confront uncertainty in life cycle assessments (LCAs) used for decision support. LCAs offer a quantitative approach to assess environmental effects of products, technologies, and services and are conducted by an LCA practitioner or analyst (AN) to support the decision maker (DM) in making the best possible choice for the environment. At present, some DMs do not trust the LCA to be a reliable decision-support tool—often because DMs consider the uncertainty of an LCA to be too large. The standard evaluation of uncertainty in LCAs is an ex-post approach that can be described as a variance simulation based on individual data points used in an LCA. This article develops and proposes a taxonomy for LCAs based on extensive research in the LCA, management, and economic literature. This taxonomy can be used ex ante to support planning and communication between an AN and DM regarding which type of LCA study to employ for the decision context at hand. This taxonomy enables the derivation of an LCA classification matrix to clearly identify and communicate the type of a given LCA. By relating the LCA classification matrix to statistical principles, we can also rank the different types of LCA on an expected inherent uncertainty scale that can be used to confront and address potential uncertainty. However, this article does not attempt to offer a quantitative approach for assessing uncertainty in LCAs used for decision support.
No preview · Article · May 2014 · Journal of Industrial Ecology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The work addresses current knowledge gaps regarding causes for correlations between environmental and biomarker measurements and explores the underappreciated role of variability in disaggregating exposure attributes that contribute to biomarker levels. Our simulation-based study considers variability in environmental and food measurements, the relative contribution of various exposure sources (indoors and food), and the biological half-life of a compound, on the resulting correlations between biomarker and environmental measurements. For two hypothetical compounds whose half-lives are on the order of days for one and years for the other, we generate synthetic daily environmental concentrations and food exposures with different day-to-day and population variability as well as different amounts of home- and food-based exposure. Assuming that the total intake results only from home-based exposure and food ingestion, we estimate time-dependent biomarker concentrations using a one-compartment pharmacokinetic model. Box plots of modeled R2 values indicate that although the R2 correlation between wipe and biological (e.g., serum) measurements is within the same range for the two compounds, the relative contribution of the home exposure to the total exposure could differ by up to 20%, thus providing the relative indication of their contribution to body burden. The novel method introduced in this paper provides insights for evaluating scenarios or experiments where sample, exposure, and compound variability must be weighed in order to interpret associations between exposure data.