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"Extending, disseminating, and harmonizing the quantification of human and ecosystem toxicity impacts when assessing the sustainability of products and services over their life cycle"

Final Report Summary - QUAN-TOX (Extending, disseminating, and harmonizing the quantification of human and ecosystem toxicity impacts when assessing the sustainability of products and services over their life cycle)

QUAN-TOX stands for Extending, disseminating, and harmonizing the quantification of human and ecosystem toxicity impacts when assessing the sustainability of products and services over their life cycle. Characterizing toxicity and ecotoxicity impacts is a major aspect in evaluating the environmental performance of producty and services in our today's society in line with the global sustainability agenda, in support of a circular economy and a European strategy for a non-toxic environment. However, characterizing toxicity and ecotoxicity come with a lot of unresolved challenges for researchers, practitioners and decision makers. Hence, the main goal of the project is to improve the validity, scientific and technological quality, user applicability, stakeholder acceptance, and scientific and societal relevance of the scientific consensus toxicity characterization model USEtox. To achieve this goal, the project defined four aligned objectives:
(a) To improve and expand the coverage of human exposure pathways and substances in current toxicity characterization models in life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) (research objective 1),
(b) To strengthen the awareness of the existing scientific consensus model USEtox by identifying and reducing high uncertainties and important gaps in current toxicity characterization practice in LCIA (research objective 2),
(c) To broaden the researcher's expertise with regards to LCA background and application, integrating LCA with other science-policy fields (career development objective 1), and
(d) To establish and strengthen the researcher’s position in the international scientific community, in the LCA community, and among relevant stakeholders (career development objective 2).

PROJECT RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS -- Results that are a clear outcome of the QUAN-TOX project include:
(a) a suite of new models for characterizing exposure to pesticide residues in food crops, to chemicals in cosmetic products and in personal care products,
(b) the introduction of novel metrics to compare different exposure pathways across populations and consistent with USEtox and other multimedia, multi-pathway modeling frameworks,
(c) the design and implementation of a mathematical framework that consistently integrates USEtox with additional models for consumer exposure and that can be applied in LCIA and other science-policy fields including chemical alternatives assessment and high-throughput risk screening,
(d) driving and chairing international task forces focusing on providing global guidance and harmoniztaion of toxicity assessmetn with USEtox under the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment),
(e) the publication of all research results for the scientific community in ISI journals and for practitioners and students in educational book chapters of relevant textbooks,
(f) a joint effort to identify and address uncertainties and gaps in USEtox together with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, to address current data limitations in a joint effort with the European Chemicals Agency, and to promote the life cycle approach and the quantitative characterization of toxicity with USEtox in collaboration with UN Environment and the European Environment Agency,
(g) actively interlinking the researcher with the world's best experts in life cycle assessment (LCA) at the host institution and other research institutions,
(i) successful participation of the researcher at the host institution's Education in University Teaching training program, and
(j) providing the researcher a permanent position as Associate Professor at the host institution.

PROJECT IMPACT -- QUAN-TOX has helped to enhance the transfer of konwledge between the researcher, his host institution, and an international network of leading scientists and stakeholders in different disciplines regarding the dissemination and application of the UNEP/SETAC scientific consensus model USEtox and the core research activities to strengthen the model via inclusion of additional data, exposure pathways and indicators within and beyond the field of life cycle assessment (LCA). All produced material is made publicly available through publications in ISI journals, student textbooks and stakeholder reports as well as disseminated to a broader audience via conference contributions and open workshops and the collaboration with relevant stakeholder bodies and decision makers, such as the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agenca, the European Chemicals Agency, and the French Environmental Protection Agency. More specifically, the main impact of the QUAN-TOX project is that LCA researchers have been provided a research agenda to fucus future research effort for improving toxicity characterization, practitioners in LCA and other science-policy fields have now access to recommendations for conducting toxicity characterization in relation ot evaluating the environmental sustainabilty performance of products and services, and students, decision makers and practitioners have been provided training and education material in related texbooks, ongoing series of training workshops and a dedicated USEtox PhD summer school. With that, QUAN-TOX serves as knowledge pool for toxicity characterization and dissemination of the globally accepted scientific consensus model USEtox.

Main Contact: Peter Fantke, Technical University of Denmark,

Project website address: 99eec57d-9acd-45cf-b71f-a9daa0b66a95 .html