Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) is a fast growing technique which is now being widely applied. The methodology for conducting LCA's is being developed and refined and attempts are underway to set up agreed working procedures and standards. Foremost amongst these are the activities of ISO, in developing formal standards, and SETAC, in resolving methodological issues, such as energy accounting and co-product allocation, and, especially, in deriving an agreed Code of Practice. SETAC has also established, by means of consensus workshops, key bases for further necessary work on impact assessment (the relation of chemical emissions to actual environmental impacts) and data quality. Data availability is still a major factor limiting more widespread application of LCA, although some progress is being achieved, notably on raw material data for plastics and surfactants.
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