Environmental toxicity is measured as two separate impact categories which examine freshwater and land respectively. The emission of some substances, such as heavy metals, can have impacts on the ecosystem. Assessment of toxicity has been based on maximum tolerable concentrations in water for ecosystems. Ecotoxicity Potentials are calculated with the USES-LCA, which is based on EUSES, the EU’s toxicity model. This provides a method for describing fate, exposure and the effects of toxic substances on the environment. Characterisation factors are expressed using the reference unit, kg 1,4-dichlorobenzene equivalent (1,4-DB), and are measured separately for impacts of toxic substances on:
BRE believe that toxicity is a key issue which must be addressed by Environmental Profiles and the Green Guide and have attempted to find the most relevant models to assess this impact category.
Toxicity*: It should be noted that issues relating to toxicity generate much debate. Designers are advised to carefully review the material supplier’s guidance, to note any relevant regulations, codes and standards appropriate to different industries and materials and to consider the context and application within which the materials are to be used. The results in the Green Guide do consider some toxic effects, but these should in no way be considered comprehensive for any of the material alternatives considered. Many of the chemicals used in society have not undergone a risk assessment and assessment techniques are still developing.
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