Application of ERICA index to evaluation of soil ecosystem health according to sustainability threshold for chemical impact

Elena Boriani, Emilio Benfenati, Diego Baderna, Marianne Thomsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the improved ERICA model for risk assessment (Boriani et al., 2010) is to give an instrument able to measure the effect of xenobiotics introduced into the environment. This will be of great help for "green" processes and sustainable industries and may help to advertise their products as safe for the environment following impact assessment. In this work we have added new indicators and scoring systems to be used in particular with attention for the soil compartment. Even though it is partly starting to be considered by some legislations, there is still an open debate to assess if a compound added to a certain scenario will increase risk for human beings and the environment. The prolonged environmental occurrence introduces uncertainty regarding the presence and properties of degradation products and cumulative effects from multiple substances present in the environment. Tools capable of efficiently coping with this issue may prove useful for stakeholders. For instance, industries able to show that their substances present good characteristics also related to fate and transport properties may document the added value of environmental friendly products. Furthermore, the use of these tools may lead to awareness by industries of minimizing the environmental impact of the whole production chain. In the present study we show how the instrument ERICA may work by addressing multiple sources of exposure. An improved version of ERICA and in particular its parameter EF (fate and transport of chemical compounds into the environment) is described in this paper and is applied to a scenario of two veterinarian pharmaceutical compounds: Sulfadiazine (SDZ) and Toltrazuril and their metabolites present in the environment. Results show that the new EF parameter is able to prioritize the chemical compounds better than the previous version with respect to their ability to degrade or not into the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-142
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Jan 5 2013


  • Fate and transport
  • Risk assessment
  • Veterinarian pharmaceuticals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering


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