Corporate Textile Chemical Management, How to Avoid Problem Shifting
Examensarbete för masterexamen
Industrial ecology (MPTSE), MSc
In the drive towards both a circular economy and a non-toxic environment, a major challenge is hazardous chemicals in products. Textile production involves the use of many different chemicals and its value chain is often very complex, which complicates the management of chemicals throughout this supply chain. In this master thesis, a life cycle assessment (LCA) and risk assessment (RA) were carried out in a case study on two chemicals (chemical A and B) produced by AkzoNobel, used to produce industrial textile softeners. Due to concern about reproductive toxicity regarding chemical A, there is a growing interest in softener produced using other chemicals (such as chemical B). However, as the softener produced using chemical B requires higher temperature when used, there is a risk of problem shifting in this chemical substitution case. The thesis also covered possible ways to integrate the two tools (RA and LCA), which can be done on methodological level or by combining the results. In the case study, this was done by carrying out the RA throughout the life cycle, while also including toxicity impact of chemical A and B in the LCA done on the softeners. The LCA result was then aggregated into disability-adjusted life years (DALY) to express the burden on human health. Aggregating results is a way to make the result more comprehensive and easier to communicate. In this RA, there were no uncontrolled risks. While the exposure to consumers was very low, the calculated exposures to workers were for some activities almost high enough for risk of adverse effects to occur. There were however significant uncertainties involved in the exposure to workers. The LCA showed that softener based on chemical B had only a slightly higher impact (for the studied impact categories and resulting DALYs) than softener based on chemical A. However, only using softener based on chemical B, and instead incinerating chemical A, would result in a higher impact than the current use of both types of softener. Utilising the generated heat from this incineration for energy recovery did not significantly decrease this impact. The result of this case study indicates that problem shifting could occur if switching from chemical A to chemical B based softener.
Övrig industriell teknik och ekonomi , Other industrial engineering and economics