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What is Environmental Release Category (ERC) and How It is Used for Environmental Risk Assessment

By Little Pro on 2016-11-11 Views:  Update:2017-01-18

Environmental release category (ERC) is a key REACH use descriptor to define the release factors of a chemical substance in a specific use exposure scenario. It is used in modeling tools such as ECETOC-TRA and EUSES to derive environmental exposure estimates. Typical ERCs include ERC1 manufacture of substance, ERC2 formulation of preparations and ERC8a Wide dispersive indoor use of processing aids in open systems. In this article, we will summarize how ERC is used for environmental risk assessment and where to find specific ERCs (SPERCs).

Why is Enviromental Release Category (ERC) Important?

Environmental release categories (ERCs) specify default values of the:

  • number of emission days;
  • fractions of the amount released to water, air and soil;
  • dilution factor; and
  • fraction of the tonnage being used in a region and a point source.

Above values are crucial for deriving environmental exposure estimates. Since default emission values associated with ERCs are often very conservative and unrealistic, Specific Environmental Release Categories (SPERCs) have been developed. SPERCs) correspond to sets of information describing specific good practice conditions of use and the corresponding release estimates (to water, air, soil and waste). They are developed by sector groups of chemical industry and their downstream customer industries to refine the emission estimates obtained by using the ERCs’ release factors, taking into account specific operational conditions and RMMs applied for the use in the sector.

List of ERCs and Default Emission Factors

Environmental Release Category ERCs

In absence of more specific emission factors, above default values can be used in EUSES to derive environmental exposure estimates(PECs). (Example)

How to Find Specific ERCs (SPERCs)?

Various industry associations have already developed SPERCs for their own uses. Some of those SPERCs are available as follows:

One example of SPERC (from Concawe) is listed as follows.


Main Reference

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