Review of Environmental Assessment Case Studies Blending Elements of Risk Assessment and Life Cycle Assessment
Journal article, 2015
Risk assessment (RA) and life cycle assessment (LCA) are two
analytical tools used to support decision making in environmental management. This study reviewed 30 environmental assessment case studies that claimed an integration, combination, hybridization, or complementary use of RA and LCA. The focus of the
analysis was on how the respective case studies evaluated emissions of chemical pollutants and pathogens. The analysis revealed three clusters of similar case studies.
Yet, there seemed to be little consensus as to what should be referred to as RA and
LCA, and when to speak of combination, integration, hybridization, or complementary use of RA and LCA. This paper provides clear recommendations
toward a more stringent and consistent use of terminology. Blending elements of RA and LCA offers multifaceted opportunities to adapt a given environmental assessment
case study to a specific decision making context, but also requires awareness of several implications and potential pitfalls, of which six are discussed in this paper. To facilitate a better understanding and more transparent communication of the nature of a given case study, this paper proposes a “design space” (i.e., identification framework) for environmental assessment case studies blending elements of RA and LCA. Thinking in terms of a common design space, we postulate, can increase clarity and transparency when communicating the design and results of a given assessment together with its potential strengths and weaknesses.
quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA)
risk assessment (RA)
life cycle impact assessment (LCIA)
life cycle assessment (LCA)
quantitative chemical risk assessment (QCRA)