Over the past decades, economic prosperity and human welfare have become increasingly dependent on ecosystems’ sustainable use. Due to increasing progress expectations from current societal models there has been a rise in chemical use around the globe, especially linking to agricultural production (i.e. pesticides, fertilizers) and transport and industry (i.e. fuel), as well as new compounds and materials are rapidly being introduced in the market. However, in an environmental risk assessment (ERA) context, when producing or using chemical substances, decision-makers shall consider both the benefits and the costs of these potentially harmful substances, as they have the potential to negatively affect human and environmental health significantly. Consequently, socio-economic ERA shall account for both social (i.e. human health effects, ecosystem health effects) and private costs and benefits. Especially, as humans highly benefit from ecosystems (i.e. drinking water, food, recreational activities, etc.), the estimated impact of chemical use shall explicitly consider the effects to ecosystem services. Accordingly, this PhD work will analyze the socio-economic impacts on the natural capital and the ecosystem services derived from chemical substance use. Current environmental economic theory makes use of cost-benefit analysis techniques, also used in human health studies, to evaluate the costs and benefits from changes in the environment and the ecosystem services. The present work will evaluate the socio-economic impacts from chemicals through different cost-benefit analysis approaches (i.e. stated and revealed preferences techniques), essentially by further developing socio-economic evaluation methods, quantifying the economic damages of chemicals to different stakeholders across time and space to ultimately support decision-making in a chemical ERA context.
We provide a disciplinary and multidisciplinary research programme aimed at advanced understanding of environmental problems and advanced training of PhD candidates in this field.