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Keywords:

  • decision support;
  • environmental management;
  • industrial ecology;
  • local government;
  • substance flow analysis (SFA);
  • urban environment

Summary

  1. Top of page
  2. Summary
  3. Introduction
  4. Background
  5. Method
  6. Results and Discussion
  7. Conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. References
  10. About the Authors

Despite phase-out policies, regulations, planning, and systematic thinking, diffuse emissions of hazardous substances from goods and materials accumulate in society. This is most pronounced in urban areas, since such emissions are related to high densities of people, services, and goods. In this study of Stockholm, Sweden, the aim is to discuss the utility of substance flow analyses (SFAs) for the urban management of hazardous substances. Several SFAs in Stockholm have been conducted during the period from 1995–2007. Eleven case studies were selected and were related to utility aspects to discover specific factors involved in the practical application of SFA. As far as ongoing environmental management is concerned, it can be stated that the SFAs’ results have been implemented in several local environmental objectives. Citations and use of the SFAs show that the studies, which focus on diffuse emissions, have had a strong influence on local policy. The application of SFA in Stockholm reveals that methodology factors, type of information, local context, and method of communication may be important in the utilization of SFA in policy. In the implementation of the results of Stockholm studies, it has been a strength to have both the environmental monitoring, which indicates the existence of hazardous substances in different environmental compartments, and SFAs that map and monitor sources of emissions.


Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Summary
  3. Introduction
  4. Background
  5. Method
  6. Results and Discussion
  7. Conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. References
  10. About the Authors

Despite phase-out policies, regulations, planning and systematic thinking, there are diffuse emissions of hazardous substances from goods and materials accumulated in society (Bergbäck et al. 2001b; Sörme et al. 2001; Diamond and Hodge 2007). In urban areas the importance of diffuse emissions is most pronounced, since this type of emission is related to high densities of people, services, and goods (Brunner and Rechberger 2002; Brunner 2007). Several accepted methods exist for monitoring hazardous substances, such as repeated sampling in the environment and/or models based on production and consumption statistics. To estimate flows of substances, Ayres (1978) was among the first to emphasize the importance of data from production and use statistics. This type of information is used in substance flow analysis (SFA or MFA—material flow analysis—if it is dealing with materials), a method described for example by van der Voet (2002). The methods include studies of stocks and flows of different substances, such as chemical compounds, including major or trace elements and organic substances. As described by Brunner and Rechberger (2004), MFA or SFA methodology is suitable for studying flows of substances in production, processing, manufacturing, use, and discarded or recycled waste. Substance flow analysis may also allow estimation of diffuse emission sources so that control measures can be prioritized (van der Voet 2002; Sörme 2003).

Gerst and Graedel (2008) question the utility for a number of stake holders/agents of in-use stocks, unless the information is transformed to embrace future scenarios, which could be derived from knowledge of stocks. Lindqvist (2002) addressed the issue of SFA usefulness. Her results, from interviews with local representatives from authorities, showed that in a city like Stockholm representatives found the SFA method more useful than respondents in smaller cities. Its usefulness was mainly as an information aiding tool. Burström (1999) also describes the processes of environmental management in relation to the MFA approach and shows the early applications in Stockholm. He also argues for the use of techniques, such as MFA, so that the local authorities can gain a better understanding of links between society and the environment and improve communication in environmental management (including communication with policy makers). Because the urban environmental management in Stockholm has embraced the use of SFA as a method for monitoring of flows and accumulation of hazardous substances, it is interesting to relate these studies to utility aspects.

The aim of this paper is to discuss the utility of the SFAs for the urban management of hazardous substances. The paper analyzes the influence SFA has had on the development and implementation of environmental policy in Stockholm. The usefulness for the city's decision makers is studied using a systematic approach, where both local and national environmental objectives as well as chemical regulation applied in the European Union (EU) are discussed.

Background

  1. Top of page
  2. Summary
  3. Introduction
  4. Background
  5. Method
  6. Results and Discussion
  7. Conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. References
  10. About the Authors

The Stockholm Example

In Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, the tradition of using SFA has been strong, and numerous studies have been conducted in the city (see Table 1). Several of the SFAs assessed urban metal flows under the research program “Metals in the Urban and Forest Environment,” (SEPA 1995), which was performed in Sweden 1994–2001, with the study year 1995. For the urban part, the focus was on studying metal flows and accumulation in the Stockholm technosphere (i.e., the physical environment altered by human activity) via SFA as well as on studying the biosphere via environmental chemical monitoring. Bergbäck and colleagues (2001) set forth the total stocks and flows for seven metals in 1995. Svidén and Jonsson (2001) and Sörme and colleagues (2001a) analyzed the long-term metal use of Stockholm. Sörme and colleagues (2001b) focused on determining the diffuse emissions from goods. Work by Jonsson and colleagues (2002) and Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002) represents the search for sources of metal emissions and budget calculations of metals to sediment and wastewater, respectively. The studies of Westerlund (2001) and Hjortenkrans and colleagues (2007) were a response to the awareness that traffic is a major source of diffuse emissions. Here, detailed studies of metal concentrations in brake linings (Westerlund 2001), updated in work by Hjortenkrans and colleagues (2007), were conducted. The results were also modeled in a manner to provide valuable data regarding the total flows of metals in Stockholm. Hjortenkrans and colleagues (2007) provided new data on total emissions from traffic reflecting changes in the composition of brake linings. Månsson and colleagues (2009) demonstrated the development over time of stocks and flows for three metals and discussed the different control measures that have been conducted to phase out these metals. Studies covering organic substances have also been carried out. First, alkylphenols and alkylphenolethoxylates (AP/APEO) were studied (Månsson et al. 2008), elucidating the importance of imported textiles as an emission source. Second, AP/APEO and three other organic substances were analyzed with estimations of stocks and emissions, which could be linked to different consumer goods, such as construction material for chlorinated paraffin (CP) and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and electronics for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) (Jonsson et al. 2008). The recent research project “New pollutants—new tools” (2004–2008) emphasized the use of SFA as a tool in the task of prioritizing control measures against pollutants (Bergbäck and Jonsson 2008).

Table 1.  Information about the substance flow analyses conducted in Stockholm
 SubstanceTime spanResearch programTitle of studyAuthors, year
  1. Note: Cd = cadmium; Cr = chromium; Cu = copper; Hg = mercury; Ni = nickel; Pb = lead; Sb = antimony; Zn = zinc; AP/APEO = alkylphenols and alkylphenolethoxylates; DEHP = di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate; PBDE = polybrominated diphenyl ethers; CP = chlorinated paraffin.

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A previous study about the occurrence in sediments of the 33 priority substances listed in Annex X of the Water Framework Directive (EU 2001; Sternbeck et al. 2003) has further motivated the choice of which pollutants to study using SFA, especially for organic substances. In total, the following hazardous substances have been covered by SFAs: cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), zinc (Zn), alkylphenols and alkylphenolethoxylates (AP/APEO), chlorinated paraffins (CP), di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). All of the studies have been published in peer-reviewed scientific literature, except for the study of PAH (Sundkvist 2004) and the first brake lining study (Westerlund 2001).

The establishment of goods and construction materials as pollution sources has only partly been followed by a corresponding development in legislation. Although there are a few examples of legislation dealing with hazardous substances in goods (such as the RoHS directive on electronics) local authorities largely have to rely on other approaches to effectively reduce the environmental load of such substances. Voluntary measures taken by authorities themselves and other stakeholders are now more important.

In Stockholm, such measures are presented as environmental objectives as part of the Stockholm Environmental Programme, which is revised approximately every four years (Stockholm City 2003, 2008b). As a background document for producing this program, and for setting priorities for environmental work in general, the city's Environment and Health Administration regularly produces an Environmental and Health Review (see, for example, Stockholm City [2001]), which describes and ranks the major environmental issues. Hazardous substances are dealt with in the chapter “A Non-Toxic Environment.” A foundation for this review is the environmental monitoring carried out by the city itself and other actors in the area.

Method

  1. Top of page
  2. Summary
  3. Introduction
  4. Background
  5. Method
  6. Results and Discussion
  7. Conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. References
  10. About the Authors

The evaluation of the utility of SFA was conducted, as a first step, by searching for references to any of the 11 selected studies in the background documentation of regulations, environmental objectives, and local environmental and health evaluations. Second, the studies and the SFA results regarding various substances were evaluated regarding their inclusion in environmental management by observing implementation in local policies regarding various substances. The extent of influence of the SFA was divided in two levels: Strong: the SFA results were very clearly the basis for a certain policy text. Medium: the policy background document refers to or uses the results reached by a given SFA study. The utility issue is mainly discussed in terms of whether and how the selected studies have had an effect on local environmental objectives, especially with a focus on safe products (Stockholm City 2003, 2008b). There are national environmental quality objectives (Swedish Government 2006), which are highly relevant to the local environment—specifically the objective for a nontoxic environment. Documents from the local environmental administration such as the Environmental and Health Review (Stockholm City 2001, 2006, 2008a) were also used in this study. European and Swedish chemical regulations were analyzed, but there were difficulties, as all of the background documentation was not specified. Therefore, this level was not systematically studied; instead, it was exemplified with one case of Hg and one of Pb.

Other agents and aspects have also affected policy development. Thus, it is not always possible to distinguish the influence of these 11 studies from that of other agents, such as national authorities, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), or media. Neither is it feasible to cover all of the environmental decisions that have been made. Instead, we focused on finding examples where it was possible to see influence. However, a deeper analysis of policy in a social science context needs to be taken up elsewhere.

Results and Discussion

  1. Top of page
  2. Summary
  3. Introduction
  4. Background
  5. Method
  6. Results and Discussion
  7. Conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. References
  10. About the Authors

Utility of SFAs in Stockholm

SFA of the types within the industrial ecology realm often aims at sorting out the societal uses and flows of substances, and the relation of such findings to existing and future policy (Kleijn 2007). This was also the case with the Stockholm studies. The environmental authorities in Stockholm have a tradition of environmental studies being performed in a system perspective. The local environmental authorities have asked for more information from SFA studies, and especially results concerning substance incidence and turnover in society (Stockholm City 2003). The citations of the SFAs in “Metals in the Urban and Forest Environment” indicated that these studies have had a strong influence on local policy (SEPA 1995). The results of these studies were included in Stockholm's Environmental Programme 2003–2006 (Stockholm City 2003). Therefore, it should be emphasized that the results of the SFAs have led to inclusion of various local environmental objectives (see Table 2).

Table 2.  Extract of subsidiary goals to the overarching goal “Safe products” of the Environmental Programme in Stockholm 2003–2006
Goal numberEnvironmental objective
  1. Source: Environmental Programme 2003–2006 (Stockholm City 2003, 15).

Goal 2Safe products
Our environment shall be free from toxins. The City shall demand that chemicals and other products and services are environmentally friendly. The City shall set a good example in the environmental demands it places on building materials, vehicular equipment, electronics, and foodstuffs, for example. Our knowledge of the effects of harmful substances on people and the environment must increase, as must households’ knowledge of environmentally friendly products and organic foodstuffs.
Subsidiary goal
2.1The presence of the substances prioritized in the EU's General Directive for water1 shall be measured. If the substances are present in the form of environmental contamination, draft measures shall be produced.
2.4The City shall work to eliminate the use of amalgam by dental health care services.
2.5The use of copper in new water supply installations shall be avoided.
2.6Copper may only be used on buildings when the material has a culturally historic value.
2.7The City shall work to discourage the use of lead sinkers in fishing.
2.8The City shall work toward a reduction of at least 30% in the use of art paints containing cadmium.

One of the background documents in the local arena for environmental policy is the Environmental and Health Review (Stockholm City 2001, 2006, 2008a), which has included the results from Bergbäck and colleagues (2001), Svidén and Jonsson (2001), Sörme and colleagues (2001b), Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002), Jonsson and colleagues (2002), Månsson and colleagues (2008, 2009) and Jonsson and colleagues (2008). The results of Westerlund (2001) and Hjortenkrans and colleagues (2007) were included in the description of sources for copper (Cu) and lead (Pb). The strongest influence was attributed to the study by Sörme and colleagues (2001b) titled “Goods in the Anthroposphere as a Metal Emission Source—A Case Study of Stockholm, Sweden.” This study is cited in background documents, policy text, and follow-up documents. Why were the results so useful? The studies that reflect longer time spans (i.e., the studies by Svidén and Jonsson 2001 and Sörme et al. 2001a) were also useful in the creation of the overall picture of Stockholm's stocks and flows but are not as clearly cited as the study by Sörme and colleagues (2001b). The explanation for this is considered to be the information included about emissions from the stocks, which is prominent in Sörme and colleagues (2001b). Thus, the utility for decision makers increased when the results were focused on emissions. This is also in line with the analysis of Gerst and Graedel (2008). Their call for the disaggregation of data—which is based on both top-down and bottom-up approaches—to increase utility, was in fact answered by the approach in the Sörme and colleagues (2001b) study. The results were based on top-down estimates (such as regional data adjusted to the cities’ size) and a significant amount of bottom-up retrieved data.

In the latest version of the Environmental and Health Review (Stockholm City 2008a), the SFA results regarding emission sources are utilized to a large extent. The most important emission sources for the various hazardous substances are presented; in this way the SFA results function as information sources. The City will continually update the information in a database (Stockholm City 2008a). Recent SFAs of organic hazardous substances, such as alkylphenols, plasticizers, and flame retardants (Jonsson et al. 2008; Månsson et al. 2008), have also begun to be incorporated in the Environmental and Health Review (Stockholm City 2008a). Findings from the research program “New Pollutants–New Tools” (2004–2008) use SFA results to suggest control measures, such as cooperation between the city, industries, and trade organizations but also improved environmental standards in demolition activities to increase participation in the phase-out of certain pollutants by voluntary means (Bergbäck and Jonsson, 2008).

To what extent have the results and knowledge gained through SFA been implemented in policies for the various substances?Table 3 shows the relationship between the substances (how the environmental objectives are formulated) and the influence of the SFA studies conducted.

Table 3.  Implementation of SFA results in Environmental objectives and Extent of SFA influence of the substances’ local policies, as cited in Environmental and Health Reviews of Stockholm
SubstanceEnvironmental program1Environmental objectivesExtent of SFA influence of objectiveBackground found in SFA2 (cited in Environmental and Health Reviews of Stockholm)
  1. The cited sources are specified in the last column.

  2. Note: Strong: the SFA results were obviously the basis for a certain policy text. Medium: the policy background document refers to or uses the results retrieved by SFA studies. None: no local policy text exists.

Cd2003–2006Increase knowledge of stocks and flows,StrongBergbäck et al. (2001), Jonsson et al. (2002), Sörme et al. (2001b), Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002), Månsson et al. (2009)
Decrease flows of Cd in artists’ paints  
2008–2011Generally decrease emissions from goods and buildingsMediumMånsson et al. (2009)
Cr2003–2006 NoneBergbäck et al. (2001), Sörme et al. (2001b), Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002)
2008–2011Generally decrease emissions from goods and buildingsMediumSörme et al. (2001b), Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002)
Cu2003–2006Decrease share of Cu in-pipes and taps-roofsStrongBergbäck et al. (2001), Sörme et al. (2001b), Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002)
2008–2011Generally decrease emissions from goods and buildingsMediumSörme et al. (2001b), Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002)
Hg2003–2006Increase knowledge of stocks and flowsStrongBergbäck et al. (2001), Svidén and Jonsson (2001), Sörme et al. (2001b), Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002), Månsson et al. (2009)
Decrease flows of dental amalgam  
2008–2011Generally decrease emissions from goods and buildingsMediumMånsson et al. (2009)
Ni2003–2006 NoneBergbäck et al. (2001), Sörme et al. (2001b)
2008–2011Generally decrease emissions from goods and buildingsMediumSörme et al. (2001b), Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002)
Pb2003–2006Increase knowledge of stocks and flowsStrongBergbäck et al. (2001), Jonsson et al. (2002), Sörme et al. (2001b), Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002), Månsson et al. (2009)
Decrease flows of Pb in fishing sinkers  
2008–2011Generally decrease emissions from goods and buildingsMediumMånsson et al. (2009)
Zn2003–2006 NoneBergbäck et al. (2001), Sörme et al. (2001b), Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002)
2008–2011Generally decrease emissions from goods and buildingsMediumSörme et al. (2001b), Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002)
AP/APEO2003–2006Increase knowledge of stocks and flows  
2008–2011Generally decrease emissions from goods and buildingsMediumMånsson et al. (2008)
DEHP2003–2006Increase knowledge of stocks and flows  
2008–2011Generally decrease emissions from goods and buildingsMediumJonsson et al. (2008)
PBDE2003–2006Increase knowledge of stocks and flows  
2008–2011Generally decrease emissions from goods and buildingsMediumJonsson et al. (2008)
CP2003–2006   
2008–2011Generally decrease emissions from goods and buildingsMediumJonsson et al. (2008)

For Cd, Cu, Hg, and Pb, there was a strong influence in the formulation of the subsidiary goals, as these were formulated with the results of the SFAs. The need to increase the knowledge of several of the substances through SFA studies (see Table 2, goal 2.1), was driven not only by the regulations in the Water Framework Directive of the European Union (EU 2000), but also by the results of the previous SFAs, which suggested that further studies of Cd, Hg, and Pb were needed. Thus, SFAs (Bergbäck et al. 2001) influenced policies (Stockholm City 2003), which in turn led to new SFAs being conducted (i.e., Månsson et al. 2009). Chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), and zinc (Zn) have not been prioritized (in a way that is analogous to the Water Framework Directive of the European Union, [EU 2000, 2001]), and therefore the SFA results are not formulated as a part of any environmental aims. Cu is not a priority substance in the Water Framework Directive, but in the local environment it has been found in high concentrations, which has led to its inclusion in environmental objectives.

The subsidiary goals in the Environmental Programme 2008–2011 are, however, specified less than for 2003–2006, so the SFA results have there had a clear, but not specified influence on environmental policy. Now they are formulated as “general decrease of emissions from goods and buildings.” This formulation is also an indication of the common recognition of the importance of diffuse emission. The information from SFA is still detailed and utilized in the Environmental and Health Review (Stockholm City 2008a). The influence of SFA, by its implementation in the policies in 2008–2001, is therefore considered to be medium.

Utility for Policy Makers Outside of Stockholm

Policy makers outside of Stockholm have used the Stockholm SFA results in the work of decreasing flows of Pb and Hg. Decision makers in the European policy process of the End-of-Life Vehicle directive (2000/53/EG) (EU 2005), utilized the study of metal content in brake linings (Westerlund 2001). This study gave crucial information about the Pb content in commonly used brake linings and the use was established in relation to other emission sources in the SFAs included in Bergbäck and colleagues (2001). Results were included in the work of technical information in view of possible amendments of the end-of-life vehicle (ELV) directive (Lohse et al. 2001 72–73). Specifically, the results of metal content in brake linings gave background information for restrictions of Pb content in brake linings. In addition, the results in Hjortenkrans and colleagues (2007) showed that emissions from brake linings decreased from approximately 560 kilograms (kg) Pb in 1998 to less than 60 kg Pb in 20051 after the restrictions were amended. We argue that this is an example of influence by SFA on the policy process because it was possible to compare the amount of brake lining emissions with the total flows.

The fact that mercury from amalgam in people’s teeth is an important source of mercury to a wastewater treatment plant (>40% in year 1999) was shown in Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002) (article 5 in Table 1). At the request of the European Council of Ministers, the European Commission developed and adopted a “Mercury Strategy” in 2005. One of the actions in the strategy was to ask the scientific committees to present opinions on health risks and environmental risks connected with the use of dental amalgam, with a view to considering regulatory action at the EU level. The Swedish Chemicals Agency commented on the draft opinion on environmental risks in 2008 and sent the publication to the scientific committee to be considered in their work (Ekblom 2009). The European Environmental Bureau asked a consultant to produce a report about the mass balance of mercury in Europe, and the Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002) study is referred to (EEB, 2007). This study in turn was used in a report about the uses, emissions and a consequence analysis for the European Commission to respond to another action in the Mercury Strategy regarding uses of mercury in products and possible further actions (COWI, 2008). So, Sörme and Lagerkvist (2002) have been valuable in the work of the EU and internationally, as the case showed that amalgam is an important source of mercury to the wastewater treatment plants (Ekblom 2009).

At the national level there are examples of utilization of Stockholm's SFAs, too. The studies that cover Pb and Hg have been nationally recognized in evaluations that preceded suggested national bans on these metals (KemI 2004, 2007, see also Månsson et al. 2009). At Statistics Sweden, the build up of a national MFA database was a response to the experience gained at the end of the 1990s, wherein the Stockholm studies were part of the development (SCB 2000).

Characteristics of the SFA

From the experience of the Stockholm studies, four characteristics are posed as explanations for the utilization of SFA in policy: methodology factors, type of information provided, local context, and method of communication. Methodological aspects characterize the first explanation. The SFAs were, in general, of the accounting type, according to van der Voet (2002) and different from model-oriented approaches in that this type is more of a bookkeeping strategy. Instead of modeling, it is common for the main part of the case studies in Stockholm to contain a lot of empirical data, such as archive studies, interviews with business representatives and chemical analyses of new materials. In accounting (or bookkeeping), the data are sampled from different sources, which gives a more complete picture of the stocks, flows, and sources of emissions. The approach conveyed both bottom-up calculation and top-down estimates. The data sampling has in most cases been conducted by researchers and staff at the Department of Environment and Health Administration in Stockholm City. Forecasting with the help of dynamic modeling is rare in those studies. The Dutch studies of lead and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which include economic aspects and dynamic modeling of the future flows (Elshkaki et al. 2004, 2005; Kleijn et al. 2000; Tukker et al. 2006), describe the dependent factors of societal metal use and environmental policy. The relationships between, for example, lifetimes, changed consumption, and environmental policy factors such as resource distribution, phase out, and recycling have been analyzed. Their results also show the usefulness of modeling future scenarios and of combinations of delay and dynamic modeling. Nevertheless, the time aspect and trends have been studied in Stockholm—in the short term as updated SFAs for vehicle emissions (Hjortenkrans et al. 2007) and phase out of Cd, Hg, and Pb (Månsson et al. 2009), as well as in the long term (Svidén and Jonsson 2001; Sörme et al. 2001a; Jonsson et al. 2002). Updating of flows and stocks in Stockholm studies has been performed with new empirical material (interviews, scientific literature, and official statistics), but there is a risk of inheritance of data from previous studies. The data sampling is often time-consuming, and the size of the effort put into the different studies is most often from a single year or more for one or several people (see also Lindqvist 2002).

Second, mapping and monitoring sources of emissions using SFA provides information needed in environmental monitoring. In the management of hazardous substances there is a need for tools that monitor diffuse emissions in efficient ways (Burström 1999; Bergbäck et al. 2001; Lindqvist 2002). The use of SFA has resulted in knowledge about diffuse emissions and their sources in goods, which would have been hard to gain in other ways. Compared with Burström (1999) the monitoring has improved in Stockholm in the past ten years. In the case of Stockholm it has been a strength to have both the environmental monitoring, which indicates the existence of hazardous substances in different environmental compartments, and SFA for source mapping. The SFAs have thereby been linked to environmental data such as metal concentrations in sewage sludge or sediment, establishing a relationship between the estimated amounts and actual environmental concentrations (see Jonsson et al. 2002; Sörme and Lagerkvist 2002; Månsson et al. 2008; 2009).

Third, the users of information have been involved in the case studies. Including parameters such as sewage sludge concentrations, and the sources’ shares of pollutants therein, is a move closer to the users (for example wastewater management). This focus on emission sources is directly related to control measures described in, for example, the European Water Framework Directive. Lindqvist (2002) discussed the adaptation of SFA to local authorities and suggested the step of “capacity to influence” as useful for the broad attempt to address the related factors economy, regulations, and psychological and social aspects, which all interact in environmental management. Furthermore, “it includes the attempt to analyze who (if anyone) is, or would be, responsible for the substance flow, and to what extent the composition of these flows may be influenced (and by whom).”Månsson and colleagues (2009) related changes in Cd, Hg, and Pb flows to several factors. Besides the ordinances in chemical regulations, the effects of local initiatives such as those conducted by local environmental authorities (City of Stockholm Environment and Health Administration), the local water distributor and wastewater treatment company (Stockholm Water Company), and voluntary initiatives were shown to be influential factors in the flows. Finally, communication of the results has increased the utility. After the SFAs were carried out, administrative officers at the City of Stockholm Environment and Health Administration interpreted the results in a straightforward way in staff reports. Each study was originally very detailed but has been presented to local decision makers in a more simplified way, before the stage of inclusion in environmental aims. This interaction between researchers and the policy arena is an important part of the utilization process.

Conclusions

  1. Top of page
  2. Summary
  3. Introduction
  4. Background
  5. Method
  6. Results and Discussion
  7. Conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. References
  10. About the Authors

The results of the paper show that the substance flow analyses for Stockholm have been interpreted and are used in local policy documents to a large extent. The citations of the SFAs showed that the studies that focused on diffuse emissions have had a strong influence on local policy. The results of these studies were included in Stockholm's Environmental Programme 2003–2006 and are still used in evaluations. The subsidiary goals for Cd, Cu, Hg, and Pb were formulated with the results of the SFAs, indicating a strong influence. The details in the recent Environmental Programme, which covers 2008–2011, are specified less than for 2003–2006, so the SFA results have so far been implemented less than previously. However, the information from SFA is still detailed and utilized in the background material.

From the experience of the Stockholm studies it is possible to identify specific factors that explain the utilization: Methodological aspects are important; for example, the SFAs to a great extent should be of an accounting type and based on rich empirical material. The SFAs that map and monitor sources of emissions have the largest utility as information providers. In the case of Stockholm, the environmental reviews are based on both environmental monitoring and SFA for source mapping of diffuse emissions. The local context is a move closer to the users, which increases the utility, but the studies covering Pb and Hg have also been utilized in an international context, which suggests that the results caused great interest. Finally, the method of communicating information has been important.

For future research and application, a comprehensive, less labor-intensive approach for conducting the SFA should be developed. It could be based on improved links between hazardous substance concentrations in goods and existing databases of goods and chemical flows. This would increase the amount of SFA information. The SFA results’ policy impact is likely to increase if the environmental regulations emphasize finding the sources of pollutants and decreasing emissions.

Acknowledgements

  1. Top of page
  2. Summary
  3. Introduction
  4. Background
  5. Method
  6. Results and Discussion
  7. Conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. References
  10. About the Authors

This paper was funded by the Faculty of Natural Science and Technology, at the University of Kalmar, Stockholm City, and Statistics Sweden. A special acknowledgement goes to Ulf Mohlander, Environment and Health Administration, Stockholm City, for valuable comments. We acknowledge the anonymous reviewers, who by their valuable comments gave us new insights and improved the paper.

Note
  • 1

    One kilogram (kg, SI) ≈ 2.204 pounds (lb).

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Summary
  3. Introduction
  4. Background
  5. Method
  6. Results and Discussion
  7. Conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. References
  10. About the Authors
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About the Authors

  1. Top of page
  2. Summary
  3. Introduction
  4. Background
  5. Method
  6. Results and Discussion
  7. Conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. References
  10. About the Authors

Nina Månsson and David Hjortenkrans are postdoctoral researchers in environmental science, and Bo Bergbäck is a professor of environmental chemistry at the University of Kalmar, Sweden. Arne Jamtrot (formerly Jonsson) is an environmental investigator at the Environment and Health Administration of the City of Stockholm, Sweden. Louise Sörme works as an investigator at Statistics Sweden (SCB) in Stockholm, Sweden.