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 (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 fact sheets can be downloaded here. Please always refer to the version number when using SPERCs. The background document can be downloaded here.

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.

SPERC/Life-cycle StepSub-SPERCReasonable worst-case
release factor (after on-site treatment) to
Manufacture and
recycling of
massive metal
and metal powder
Kd: 10,000-25,000 L/kg0.03 %0.03 %2.3 %1.1v2
Kd: 25,000-60,000 L/kg0.01 %
Kd: 60,000-190,000 L/kg0.05 %
Kd: 190,000-400,000 L/g0.002 %
Manufacture ofmetal compoundsKd: 1,000-10,000 L/kg0.2 %1.2.v2
Kd: 10,000-25,000 L/kg
Kd: 25,000-60,000 L/kg0.04 %
Kd: 60,000-100,000 L/kg0.01 %
Kd:100,000-190,000 L/kg0.005 %
Kd: 190,000-250,000 L/kg0.002 %
Kd: 250,000-400,000 L/kg0.001 %
Formulationin alloys0.005 %0.005 %1 %3.1.v2
Industrial use:
massive metal0.003 %0.02 %5.1.v2
Industrial use
in batteries
metal0.003 %0.003 %5.2.v2
Industrial use
in metallic coating
metal (compounds)0.5 %0.2 %5.3.v2
Service life of outdoor constructionsmassive metal, alloys or metallic coating10A.1.v1
Service life of batteries (indoor/ outdoor)metal11A.2.v1
Service life of metallic articles with no emissionmassive metal, alloys or metallic coating11A.3.v1
Formulation ofmetal compoundsPlastics and rubberThis SPERC is obsoleted. The user is referred to the respective DU sector organization SPERCs (CEPE, ETRMA, A.I.S.E., ECMA,…).2.2a.v2
Paints and coatings
Other sectors
Industrial use ofmetal compounds Plastics and rubberThis SPERC is obsoleted. The user is referred to the respective DU sector organization SPERCs (CEPE, ETRMA, A.I.S.E., ECMA,…).2.5-6a.v2


Download CHESAR 3 SPERC files here.

To keep you 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.