This study applies a methodology to evaluate the ecotoxicological potential of raw materials and cement-based construction materials. In this study, natural aggregates and Portland cement were replaced with non-conventional recycled concrete aggregates (RA) and fly ash (FA), respectively, in the production of two concrete products alternative to conventional concrete (used as reference). The experimental program involved assessing both the chemical properties (non-metallic and metallic parameters) and ecotoxicity data (battery of tests with the luminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri
, the freshwater crustacean Daphnia magna
, and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae
) of eluates obtained from leaching tests of RA, FA, and the three concrete mixes. Even though the results indicated that RA and FA have the ability to release some chemicals into the water and induce its alkalinisation, the respective eluate samples presented no or low levels of potential ecotoxicity. However, eluates from concrete mixes produced with a replacement ratio of Portland cement with 60% of FA and 100% of natural aggregates and produced with 60% of FA and 100% of RA were classified as clearly ecotoxic mainly towards Daphnia magna
mobility. Therefore, raw materials with weak evidences of ecotoxicity could lead to the production of concrete products with high ecotoxicological potential. Overall, the results obtained highlight the importance of integrating data from the chemical and ecotoxicological characterization of materials’ eluate samples aiming to assess the possible environmental risk of the construction materials, namely of incorporating non-conventional raw materials in concrete, and contributing to achieve construction sustainability.
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