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Evaluating indoor exposure modeling alternatives for LCA: A case study in the vehicle repair industry

Description: We evaluated three exposure models with data obtained from measurements among workers who use"aerosol" solvent products in the vehicle repair industry and with field experiments using these products to simulate the same exposure conditions. The three exposure models were the: 1) homogeneously-mixed-one-box model, 2) multi-zone model, and 3) eddy-diffusion model. Temporally differentiated real-time breathing zone volatile organic compound (VOC) concentration measurements, integrated far-field area samples, and simulated experiments were used in estimating parameters, such as emission rates, diffusivity, and near-field dimensions. We assessed differences in model input requirements and their efficacy for predictive modeling. The One-box model was not able to resemble the temporal profile of exposure concentrations, but it performed well concerning time-weighted exposure over extended time periods. However, this model required an adjustment for spatial concentration gradients. Multi-zone models and diffusion-models may solve this problem. However, we found that the reliable use of both these models requires extensive field data to appropriately define pivotal parameters such as diffusivity or near-field dimensions. We conclude that it is difficult to apply these models for predicting VOC exposures in the workplace. However, for comparative exposure scenarios in life-cycle assessment they may be useful.
Date: May 1, 2009
Creator: Demou, Evangelia; Hellweg, Stefanie; Wilson, Michael P.; Hammond, S. Katharine & McKone, Thomas E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Integrating Human Indoor Air Pollutant Exposure within Life Cycle Impact Assessment

Description: Neglecting health effects from indoor pollutant emissions and exposure, as currently done in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), may result in product or process optimizations at the expense of workers? or consumers? health. To close this gap, methods for considering indoor exposure to chemicals are needed to complement the methods for outdoor human exposure assessment already in use. This paper summarizes the work of an international expert group on the integration of human indoor and outdoor exposure in LCA, within the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative. A new methodological framework is proposed for a general procedure to include human-health effects from indoor exposure in LCA. Exposure models from occupational hygiene and household indoor air quality studies and practices are critically reviewed and recommendations are provided on the appropriateness of various model alternatives in the context of LCA. A single-compartment box model is recommended for use as a default in LCA, enabling one to screen occupational and household exposures consistent with the existing models to assess outdoor emission in a multimedia environment. An initial set of model parameter values was collected. The comparison between indoor and outdoor human exposure per unit of emission shows that for many pollutants, intake per unit of indoor emission may be several orders of magnitude higher than for outdoor emissions. It is concluded that indoor exposure should be routinely addressed within LCA.
Date: December 21, 2008
Creator: Hellweg, Stefanie; Demou, Evangelia; Bruzzi, Raffaella; Meijer, Arjen; Rosenbaum, Ralph K.; Huijbregts, Mark A.J. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department