An (Eco)Toxicity Life Cycle Impact Assessment Framework for Per- And Polyfluoroalkyl Substances
Journal article, 2020

A framework for characterizing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is proposed. Thousands of PFASs are used worldwide, with special properties imparted by the fluorinated alkyl chain. Our framework makes it possible to characterize a large part of the family of PFASs by introducing transformation fractions that translate emissions of primary emitted PFASs into the highly persistent terminal degradation products: the perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs). Using a PFAA-adapted characterization model, human toxicity as well as marine and freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity characterization factors are calculated for three PFAAs, namely perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA) and perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS). The model is evaluated to adequately capture long-term fate, where PFAAs are predicted to accumulate in open oceans. The characterization factors of the three PFAAs are ranked among the top 5% for marine ecotoxicity, when compared to 3104 chemicals in the existing USEtox results databases. Uncertainty analysis indicates potential for equally high ranks for human health impacts. Data availability constitutes an important limitation creating uncertainties. Even so, a life cycle assessment (LCA) case study illustrates practical application of our proposed framework, demonstrating that even low emissions of PFASs can have large effects on LCA results.

degradation

toxins

toxicity

environmnetal modeling

environmnetal pollution

Author

Hanna Holmquist

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Peter Fantke

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Ian T. Cousins

Stockholm University

Mikołaj Owsianiak

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Ioannis Liagkouridis

Stockholm University

Gregory Peters

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Environmental Science & Technology

0013-936X (ISSN) 1520-5851 (eISSN)

Vol. 54 10 6224-6234

Substitution in Practice of Prioritised Fluorinated Chemicals to Eliminate Diffuse Sources (SUPFES)

Stockholms läns landsting, 2017-01-01 -- 2020-12-31.

Formas, 2013-01-01 -- 2017-12-31.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Ecology

Environmental Sciences

DOI

10.1021/acs.est.9b07774

PubMed

32364377

More information

Latest update

8/4/2020 5