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Improved understanding of key elements governing the toxicity of energy ash eluates
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
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2013 (English)In: Waste Management, ISSN 0956-053X, E-ISSN 1879-2456, Vol. 33, no 4, 842-849 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ash from incinerated waste consists mainly of a complex mixture of metals and other inorganic elements and should be classified based on its inherent hazardous effects according to EUs Waste Framework Directive. In a previous study, we classified eight eluates from ash materials from Swedish incineration plants, both chemically and ecotoxicologically (using bacteria, algae, crustacean and fish). Based on measured concentrations in the eluates together with literature acute toxicity data on the crustacean Nitocra spinipes we identified six elements (i.e. Zn, Cu, Pb, Al, K and Ca) potentially responsible for the observed ecotoxicity. However, comparing the used test methods with N. spinipes, the acute test was relatively insensitive to the eluates, whereas the (sub)chronic test (i.e. a partial life cycle test, investigating larval development ratio) was very sensitive. The overall aim of this follow-up study was to verify if the pinpointed elements could be responsible for the observed (sub)chronic toxicity of the eluates. Individual effect levels (i.e. NOEC values) for these six elements were therefore generated using the (sub)chronic test. Our results show that for six of the eight eluates, the observed ecotoxicity can be explained by individual elements not classified as ecotoxic (Al, K and Ca) according to chemical legislation. These elements will not be considered using summation models on elements classified as ecotoxic in solid material for the classification of H-14, but will have significant implications using ecotoxicological test methods for this purpose.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 33, no 4, 842-849 p.
Keyword [en]
Ash, Classification, Ecotoxicity tests, H-14, Nitocra spinipes
National Category
Environmental Sciences Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-90192DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2012.12.008ISI: 000317798000009OAI: diva2:623813


Available from: 2013-05-28 Created: 2013-05-28 Last updated: 2015-01-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ecotoxicological classification of ash materials
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecotoxicological classification of ash materials
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Incineration of waste is increasing in the EU. However, in the incineration process, both fly and bottom ash materials are generated as waste that requires further action. A common goal throughout Europe is to find ways to utilize ash materials in an environmentally and economically efficient manner in accordance with the current legislation. This legislation is the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) which lists essential properties (H-criteria) to classify waste, as hazardous or not. Of these criteria, ecotoxicity (H-14) should be classified based on the wastes’ inherent hazardous properties. The WFD further states that this classification should be based on the Community legislation on chemicals (the CLP Regulation). Today, there are no harmonized quantitative criteria for the H-14 classification in the WFD, but there is a proposal from the EU on a computing model that summarizes all the measured elements classified as ecotoxic in the solid material. However, there may be a poor relationship between the theoretical ecotoxicity, based on analysed individual elements, and their actual contribution to the measured total toxicity. Therefore, to reduce the risk of incorrectly assessing the hazard potential, the overall aim of this doctoral Thesis was to develop a scientifically well-founded basis for the choice of leaching methodology and ecotoxicity testing for the H-14 classification of ash materials in Europe. In Paper I, different ash materials were classified, two leaching methods were compared and the sensitivity as well as the usefulness of a selected number of aquatic ecotoxicity tests were evaluated. Paper III and IV studied different leaching conditions, relevant for both hazard classification and risk evaluation of ash. Moreover, all four papers investigated potentially causative ecotoxic elements in the ash leachates. The results from this Thesis show that elements not classified as ecotoxic in the chemical legislation have a significant influence on the overall toxicity of the complex ash materials and will be considered if using the approach with ecotoxicity tests on ash leachates, but not if using the computing model. In addition, the approach of comparing chemically analysed elements in the solid ash with literature toxicity data for the same elements systematically over-estimates the hazard potential. This emphasizes the importance of using leaching tests in combination with ecotoxicity tests for the ecotoxicity classification of ash materials, at least if the aim is to fully understand the inherent hazard potential of the ash. To conclude, the recommendation for H-14 classification of ash is that leachates should be prepared using the leaching test and conditions evaluated in Paper III and that the generated leachates should be tested in a battery of test organisms representing a wide range of biological variation and different routes of exposure. This classification proposal has support in the CLP Regulation and contributes to harmonizing the waste and chemical legislation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM), Stockholm University, 2013. 35 p.
ecotoxicity, ash, classification, leaching, Waste Framework Directive, CLP-Regulation, Hazard Identification
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-93114 (URN)978-91-7447-746-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-10-18, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-09-26 Created: 2013-09-02 Last updated: 2013-09-16Bibliographically approved

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Stiernström, SaraLinde, MargaretaBengtsson, Bengt-ErikBreitholtz, Magnus
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