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Keywords:

  • environmental themes;
  • impact categories;
  • life-cycle assessment;
  • phthalates;
  • PVC;
  • substance flow analysis

Summary

This article describes a method that combines substance flow analysis (SFA) and life-cycle assessment (LCA). It was used to provide a focus in the heated Swedish polyvinylchloride (PVC) debate. For Sweden's PVC chain, all emissions related to PVC were inventoried and translated into LCA-theme scores. The theme scores were compared with total theme scores for all Swedish processes and were benchmarked on the basis of PVC's contribution to Sweden's gross national product (GNP). Mass flows oftwo PVC additives, lead and organotin, were compared with the total use of these metals in Sweden. PVC's contribution to global warming, smog formation, and waste volume was equal to or less than the benchmark. After implementation of planned measures, emissions of the toxic substances dioxins, mercury, and lead will be below the benchmark. We recommend that the Swedish PVC debate concentrate on the uncertainties of the effects of phthalates, small process emissions of persistent chlorinated substances (PBTs), lead and organotin in landfilled PVC, and emissions from PVC in accidental fire