SPERCs tool for metals 2017-08-24T19:08:01+00:00

SPERCs tool for metals

Development of Specific Emission Release Categories (SPERCs) for metals

For the environmental exposure assessment under REACH, default worst-case release factors to the environmental compartments water, air and soil are provided by ECHA Guidance documents, enabling first tier emission estimation. Because a wide variety of processes, substances and uses have to be covered, these default release factors often lead to significant over-prediction of releases and hence over-predicted environmental exposure concentrations and risks. In practice, however, unrealistic and worst case predictions do not support a more efficient management of releases and risk.

The Specific Environmental Release Factors (SPERCS) for metals and metal compounds provide a more realistic approach to characterize the environmental releases from manufacture, processing and downstream uses of the metal (compounds) in the EU. A database consisting of more than 1,300 recent (1993-2010), site-specific measured release factors to air and water of 18 different metals (and their compounds), from various EU Member States was compiled. The metal SPERCs can be used as advanced tier instrument in environmental safety assessments, increasing the realism of the estimates while still keeping a sufficient level of conservatism. The individual SPERC sheets can be downloaded from the respective links in the table below. Note that common on-site RMM are included in the release factors to wastewater and air. The SPERC characteristics are more delineated in the factsheets. Please always refer to the version number when using SPERCs.

The first version of the metal SPERCs was published in 2010 for the purpose of the 2010 REACH registration deadline and underwent a review process conducted by Lüskow et al. (2011) on behalf of the Federal Environment Agency of Germany (UBA). The second version of the metal SPERCs were improved based on the recommendations by Lüskow et al. (2011) and Sättler et al. (2012) and were further updated with new data for the purpose of the 2013 REACH registration deadline.  This second version underwent again a scientific review process and is published in Verdonck et al (2014).

Sättler D, Schnöder F, Aust N, Ahrens A, Bögi C, Traas T and Tolls J. 2012, Specific environmental release categories—A tool for improving chemical safety assessment in the EC—report of a multi-stakeholder workshop. Integr Environ Assess Manag, 8: 580–585.

Verdonck FAM, Van Assche F, Hicks K, Mertens J, Voigt A, Verougstraete V. 2014. Development of realistic environmental release factors based on measured data: approach and lessons from the EU metal industry. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 10(4), 529-538.

Lüskow H, Wirth O, Reihlen A, Jepsen, D. 2010. Standardisation of Emission Factors for the Exposure Assessment under REACH. Dessau, Germany: Federal Environment Agency Germany. FKZ 363 01 300.http://reach-info.de/dokumente/exposure_assessment.pdf

SPERC/Life-cycle Step Sub-SPERC Reasonable worst-case

release factor  (after on-site treatment) to

SPERC fact sheet
Water Air Waste
Manufacture and

recycling of

massive metal

and metal powder

Kd: 10,000-25,000 L/kg 0.03 % 0.03 % 2.3 % Download most recent Version 2.1

Download Version 1.1

Kd:25,000-60,000 L/kg 0.01 %
Kd:60,000-190,000 L/kg 0.05 %
Kd: 190,000-400,000 L/g 0.002 %
Manufacture of metal compounds Kd: 1,000-10,000 L/kg 0.2 % Download most recent Version 2.1

Download Version 1.1


Kd: 10,000-25,000 L/kg
Kd: 25,000-60,000 L/kg 0.04 %
Kd: 60,000-100,000 L/kg 0.01 %
Kd:100,000-190,000 L/kg 0.005 %
Kd: 190,000-250,000 L/kg 0.002 %
Kd: 250,000-400,000 L/kg 0.001 %
Formulation in alloys 0.005 % 0.005 % 1 % Download most recent Version 2.1

Download Version 1.1


Industrial use:


massive metal 0.003 % 0.02 %


0.003 %

Download most recent Version 2.1

Download Version 1.1


Industrial use

in batteries

metal 0.003 % Download most recent Version 2.1

Download Version 1.1


Industrial use

in metallic coating

metal (compounds) 0.5 % 0.2 % Download most recent Version 2.1

Download Version 1.1

Formulation of metal compounds Plastics and rubber 0.0002 % 0.005 % Download most recent Version 2.1

Download Version 1.1


Paints and coatings 0.01 %
Other sectors 2 %* 0.01 %
Industrial use of metal compounds Plastics and rubber 0.001 % 0.001 % Download most recent Version 2.1

Download Version 1.1


Textile 0.007 %
Glass 0.5 %* 2 %*

To keep posted on future updates please email your contact details to Dr. Frederik Verdonck at frederik.verdonck@arche-consulting.be or visit our website on a regular basis.

Note that some SPERCs developed by other sector organizations can also be covering metals and metal compounds. For example, A.I.S.E. developed SPERCs for industrial use of metal salts in conversion coating; ECMA developed a SPERC for manufacture of metal-containing catalysts