Freshwater ecotoxicity assessment of pesticide use in crop production: Testing the influence of modeling choices
Knudsen, Marie T.
Hermansen, John E.
Pesticides help to control weeds, pests, and diseases contributing, therefore, to food availability. However, pesticide fractions not reaching the intended target may have adverse effects on the environment and the field ecosystems. Modeling pesticide emissions and the link with characterizing associated impacts is currently one of the main challenges in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of agricultural systems. To address this challenge, this study takes advantage of the latest recommendations for pesticide emission inventory and impact assessment and frames a suitable interface for those LCA stages and the related mass distribution of pesticide avoiding a temporal overlapping. Here, freshwater ecotoxicity impacts of the production of feed crops (maize, grass, winter wheat, spring barley, rapeseed, and peas) in Denmark were evaluated during a 3-year period, testing the effects of inventory modeling and the recent updates of the characterization method (USEtox). Potential freshwater ecotoxicity impacts were calculated in two functional units reflecting crop impact profiles per ha and extent of cultivation, respectively. Ecotoxicity impacts decreased over the period, mainly because of the reduction of insecticides use (e.g., cypermethrin). Three different emission modeling scenarios were tested; they differ on the underlining assumptions and data requirements. The main aspects influencing impact results are the interface between inventory estimates and impact assessment, and the consideration of intermedia processes, such as crop growth development and pesticide application method. Impact scores for AS2 were higher than RS and AS1, but the differences in the crops ranking was less apparent. On the other hand, the influence on the estimation of impacts for individual AIs was considerable and statistical differences were found in the impact results modeled in scenarios RS and AS2. Thereby indicating the effect of inventory models on ecotoxicity impact assessment.
502 - Natura. Estudi, conservació i protecció de la natura
504 - Ciències del medi ambient
614 - Higiene i salut pública. Contaminació. Prevenció d'accidents. Infermeria
628 - Enginyeria sanitària. Aigua. Sanejament. Enginyeria de la il·luminació
Is part of
Journal of Cleaner Production
Peña, Nancy, Marie T. Knudsen, Peter Fantke, Assumpció Antón, and John E. Hermansen. 2019. "Freshwater Ecotoxicity Assessment Of Pesticide Use In Crop Production: Testing The Influence Of Modeling Choices". Journal Of Cleaner Production 209: 1332-1341. Elsevier BV. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.10.257.
Grant agreement number
EC/FP7/266367/EU/Sustainable Organic and Low-input Dairying/SOLID
Gestió Integral de Residus Orgànics
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- ARTICLES CIENTÍFICS 
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