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Targeting cleanups towards a more sustainable future

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Abstract

A tension arises between society's disposition to protect people at risk from environmental pollution, and an aversion towards the potential harmful side-effects associated with cleanup activities. Here we explore how setting different cleanup standards may influence some of the environmental, social, and economic side-effects of remediation, and how they can be quantified for incorporation into cleanup target setting; these include (1) secondary environmental impacts, assessed by life cycle assessment (LCA); (2) fatalities and injuries, assessed by actuarial risk analysis; and (3) the cost effectiveness of stringent cleanup standards, assessed by the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER). We argue that only by using optimal cleanup standards that integrate quantified remediation side-effects with health risk assessment (HRA) can the green and sustainable remediation (GSR) movement maximize its potential. Together, the combined approaches may provide a more holistic management of risks for a more sustainable future.

Graphical abstract: Targeting cleanups towards a more sustainable future

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 Oct 2017, accepted on 17 Dec 2017 and first published on 22 Dec 2017


Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/C7EM00518K
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2018, Advance Article
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    Targeting cleanups towards a more sustainable future

    D. O'Connor and D. Hou, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7EM00518K

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