Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) - Environmental Impacts of a Medical Device Product

by Lee, Edward S.

Abstract (Summary)
In this Masters Project a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of a medical device product was performed. Aggregated environmental data spanning the life cycle of Product X, a drug-eluting stent with its delivery system was followed from production formulation through interventional cardiology use. The life cycle was differentiated into four phases; manufacturing, distribution, clinical use, and final disposal of product.

Each phase was further segmented into individual factors where readily obtained metrics of carbon dioxide emissions, water usage, and solid waste generated are assigned and attributed to specific activites common across multiple phases.

As expected the data indicate the majority of impacts occur within the manufacturing phase. However the largest carbon dioxide emission was unexpectedly found within the distribution phase, thus highlighting the significance of the transportation factor. Also of interest are the metrics found outside the boundary of the manufacturing facility where end-user waste generation and distribution comprise nearly half of the total impact of solid waste produced by one functional unit of Product X.

The stand-alone format of this LCA serves to establish a simplified baseline of environmental impact. LCA insight can deliver a beneficial perspective by providing a comprehensive impact assessment so that future generations of product can be designed, measured, and improved against the forerunner. Following such a practice by considering total life cycle perspective is a characteristic of sustainability.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Rigling Gallagher, Deborah

School:Duke University

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:life cycle assessment medical device sustainability environmental impact lca


Date of Publication:08/26/2008

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