The application of a tiered life cycle assessment (LCA) approach to safe and sustainable chemistry in the development of smart solutions for water and air purification: The Mistra TerraClean case

This report produced within the Swedish research programme Mistra TerraClean describes the successful usage of a tiered LCA and chemical safety approach for environmental and (eco)toxicological assessment of new filter types for air and water purification that are tested and/or developed in the project.


In the Swedish research programme Mistra TerraClean a tiered approach for life cycle based environmental and human health assessment early in process development was introduced. In the project smart filters for water and air purification are under development. Innovative materials and devices are applied and evaluated with a systems perspective. In our tiered approach life cycle assessment (LCA), chemical safety assessment and applied eco and human toxicity assessments are combined, with a particular focus on the inclusion of toxicity potential impacts in LCA.

To this end, the consensus model USEtox has been applied, complemented with the method ProScale, that focusses on human direct exposure. The life cycle-based approach has so far been applied to material development and a pilot scale case study. The case study focuses on water purification of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for which we have a PFAS adapted life cycle impact assessment framework at hand. This tiered approach is relevant to process developers, people within the field of water and air treatment as well as the broader LCA community.  

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