Relationships between Life Cycle Assessment and Risk Assessment - Potentials and Obstacles

Both Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Risk Assessment (RA) are system analytical methods which provide ways for structuring, evaluating and presenting environmental information relevant for different types of environmental decision making. However, a more holistic approach for chemical and product management is needed to improve the performance in terms of environmental and toxicological aspects.

A description of LCA and risk assessment and the relationship between them including description of basic concepts, differences and interfaces are included in this report. In addition, ongoing work in the area of integrating LCA and risk assessment is described in terms of different projects and companies working with an integrated LCA and risk assessment approach. Moreover, the organizational perspective is discussed including the connection to chemical legislation, work performed within EU, UNEP and OECD as well as legal requirements. The study resulting in this report also emphasizes potentials and obstacles for future work in the area of combining LCA and risk assessment.

This report has been funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and written by Industrial Environmental Informatics, a unit at Chalmers University of Technology.