Methodology for the Assessment of the Ecotoxicological Potential of Construction Materials

Materials (Basel). 2017 Jun 13;10(6):649. doi: 10.3390/ma10060649.


Innovation in construction materials (CM) implies changing their composition by incorporating raw materials, usually non-traditional ones, which confer the desired characteristics. However, this practice may have unknown risks. This paper discusses the ecotoxicological potential associated with raw and construction materials, and proposes and applies a methodology for the assessment of their ecotoxicological potential. This methodology is based on existing laws, such as Regulation (European Commission) No. 1907/2006 (REACH-Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) and Regulation (European Commission) No. 1272/2008 (CLP-Classification, Labelling and Packaging). Its application and validation showed that raw material without clear evidence of ecotoxicological potential, but with some ability to release chemicals, can lead to the formulation of a CM with a slightly lower hazardousness in terms of chemical characterization despite a slightly higher ecotoxicological potential than the raw materials. The proposed methodology can be a useful tool for the development and manufacturing of products and the design choice of the most appropriate CM, aiming at the reduction of their environmental impact and contributing to construction sustainability.

Keywords: assessment methodology; cement-based; construction materials; ecotoxicology; environmental risk.