A method for human health impact assessment in social LCA: lessons from three case studies
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2018

Purpose Improving human health is a long-lasting endeavour

of mankind. In the field of social life cycle assessment

(SLCA), the importance of human health is often highlighted,

and further development of impact assessment methods has

been recommended. The purpose of this article is to present a

method for assessing human health impacts within SLCA.

Methods By using a systematic combining approach, knowledge

and experience about assessing human health impacts

were obtained from three previously conducted case studies.

The first case study was about an airbag system, the second

about a catalytic converter and the third about gold jewellery.

The disability-adjusted life years (DALY) indicator was used

for impact assessment in all three case studies.

Results and discussion Both positive and negative human

health impacts associated with the products were identified

and assessed in the three case studies. For the airbag system,

avoided health impacts in the use phase outweighed health

impacts during production. For the catalytic converter, whether

health impacts avoided exceeded health impacts caused or

not depended on which time perspective regarding impacts

was employed. Gold jewellery does not help avoiding any

health impacts but caused considerable health impacts when

produced at a certain location. Based on experience from these

case studies, a generic human health impact assessment method

was developed, and a life cycle human health typology for

products was developed based on the method. The method

provides a basis for analysis and interpretation of health impacts

along product life cycles, and it is therefore important to

report both positive and negative health impacts separately for

different actors.

Conclusions The developed human health impact assessment

method involves the assessment and comparison of both positive

and negative human health impacts along product life

cycles. In addition to the products assessed in the three case

studies, we suggest additional products that could be particularly

interesting to assess with the developed method, including

medicines, seat belts, other conflict minerals, alcoholic

beverages and products with a high chemical impact.

catalytic converter

social life cycle assessment (SLCA)

Airbag,

human health

jewelry

gold

Författare

Rickard Arvidsson

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Miljösystemanalys

Jutta Hildenbrand

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Miljösystemanalys

Henrikke Baumann

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Miljösystemanalys

K M Nazmul Islam

Unknown organization

Rasmus Parsmo

Unknown organization

International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

0948-3349 (ISSN)

Vol. 23 690-699

Drivkrafter

Hållbar utveckling

Ämneskategorier

Annan naturresursteknik

DOI

10.1007/s11367-016-1116-7