The impact of municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) on the environment and on human health was assessed by a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach. Even if risk assessment and epidemiologic analyses are specifically indicated for the investigation of the health outcomes, they resulted costly, time intensive and generally focused only on the effects caused by pollutant compounds directly emitted by the facility. Differently, LCA approaches are less time and cost intensive and able to account also for other indirect and direct emission of MSWI. However, results returned by LCA are based on average pollutant diffusion and individual exposure models limiting their representativeness for the specific context investigated. Furthermore, LCA is not able to return information about the final health outcomes caused by the pollutants emitted. The LCA performed for the Italian MSWI detected avoided impacts of about -0.11 kgPM2,5eq/tonne of MSW and of about -2.5 × 10-3 kgSbeq/tonne MSW for particulate matters and resource depletion, respectively. Positive impacts of about 900 kgCO2eq/tonne MSW and about 15,000 CTUe/tonne MSW were detected for global warming and freshwater ecotoxicity indicators, respectively. Avoided impacts of about -1 × 10-6 CTUh/tonne MSW and of about -2 × 10-4 DALY/tonne MSW were also detected for human toxicity cancer and human health indicators, respectively. Epidemiologic studies referred to different Italian and EU reported some correlations among MSWI and some specific cancer and non-cancer health outcomes. By the way, these resulted affected by some methodological limitation preventing the definitive identification of causal nexus. In any case, a general coherence between LCA and epidemiologic approaches was detected. Furthermore, a particular correspondence was found between LCA results and biomonitoring studies concerning the concentration of heavy metals in blood and urinary samples of exposed individuals. All this highlighted the important role that LCA can have in supporting health impact assessment of MSWI in combination with epidemiologic approaches.

The life cycle approach for assessing the impact of municipal solid waste incineration on the environment and on human health

Mastrantonio, Marina;Uccelli, Raffaella
2021

Abstract

The impact of municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) on the environment and on human health was assessed by a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach. Even if risk assessment and epidemiologic analyses are specifically indicated for the investigation of the health outcomes, they resulted costly, time intensive and generally focused only on the effects caused by pollutant compounds directly emitted by the facility. Differently, LCA approaches are less time and cost intensive and able to account also for other indirect and direct emission of MSWI. However, results returned by LCA are based on average pollutant diffusion and individual exposure models limiting their representativeness for the specific context investigated. Furthermore, LCA is not able to return information about the final health outcomes caused by the pollutants emitted. The LCA performed for the Italian MSWI detected avoided impacts of about -0.11 kgPM2,5eq/tonne of MSW and of about -2.5 × 10-3 kgSbeq/tonne MSW for particulate matters and resource depletion, respectively. Positive impacts of about 900 kgCO2eq/tonne MSW and about 15,000 CTUe/tonne MSW were detected for global warming and freshwater ecotoxicity indicators, respectively. Avoided impacts of about -1 × 10-6 CTUh/tonne MSW and of about -2 × 10-4 DALY/tonne MSW were also detected for human toxicity cancer and human health indicators, respectively. Epidemiologic studies referred to different Italian and EU reported some correlations among MSWI and some specific cancer and non-cancer health outcomes. By the way, these resulted affected by some methodological limitation preventing the definitive identification of causal nexus. In any case, a general coherence between LCA and epidemiologic approaches was detected. Furthermore, a particular correspondence was found between LCA results and biomonitoring studies concerning the concentration of heavy metals in blood and urinary samples of exposed individuals. All this highlighted the important role that LCA can have in supporting health impact assessment of MSWI in combination with epidemiologic approaches.
Epidemiologic analysis
Human health
Life cycle assessment (LCA)
Municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI)
Animals
Global Warming
Humans
Incineration
Life Cycle Stages
Particulate Matter
Refuse Disposal
Solid Waste
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12079/64349
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