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Keywords:

  • Chemical emissions;
  • GDP;
  • Personal care products;
  • Spatial variability

ABSTRACT

Environmental risk assessment of chemicals is reliant on good estimates of product usage information and robust exposure models. Over the past 20 to 30 years, much progress has been made with the development of exposure models that simulate the transport and distribution of chemicals in the environment. However, little progress has been made in our ability to estimate chemical emissions of home and personal care (HPC) products. In this project, we have developed an approach to estimate subnational emission inventory of chemical ingredients used in HPC products for 12 Asian countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam (Asia-12). To develop this inventory, we have coupled a 1 km grid of per capita gross domestic product (GDP) estimates with market research data of HPC product sales. We explore the necessity of accounting for a population's ability to purchase HPC products in determining their subnational distribution in regions where wealth is not uniform. The implications of using high resolution data on inter- and intracountry subnational emission estimates for a range of hypothetical and actual HPC product types were explored. It was demonstrated that for low value products (<500 US$ per capita/annum required to purchase product) the maximum deviation from baseline (emission distributed via population) is less than a factor of 3 and it would not result in significant differences in chemical risk assessments. However, for other product types (>500 US$ per capita/annum required to purchase product) the implications on emissions being assigned to subnational regions can vary by several orders of magnitude. The implications of this on conducting national or regional level risk assessments may be significant. Further work is needed to explore the implications of this variability in HPC emissions to enable the HPC industry and/or governments to advance risk-based chemical management policies in emerging markets. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2014;10:237–246. © 2013 SETAC