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This week the European Parliament adopted its non-legislative report responding to the publication of the EU Commission 2021 communication on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, recognising the EU Green Deal is a key tool to limit people’s exposure to pollution and prevent cancer [1, 2].

Cancer causes 1 in 4 deaths in the European Union and continues to be the first cause of death at work on the continent. The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) welcomes that our main requests for European institutions and governments in taking action to prevent cancer were taken on board by the European Parliament [3]. The report echoes HEAL’s demands to:

  • Fight cancer with the most vulnerable in mind, by focussing action on vulnerable groups to ensure protection of the broader population;
  • Prevent cancer from Farm to Fork and linking action to the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability by reducing the use of pesticides linked to cancer, revising outdated EU legislation on food contact materials, closing the current legislative gap on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and applying cross-sectoral coherence. EDCs should not be allowed in toys, cosmetics, food contact materials, or any other consumer products. This will guarantee that carcinogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals associated with increased cancer risk are eliminated;
  • Prevent cancer by upholding Europe’s zero pollution ambition by reiterating the EU Parliament’s 2021 resolution demanding alignment of EU legal air pollution standards with the WHO guidelines in the forthcoming revision.

Genon Jensen, HEAL’s Executive Director, explains: “Nobody should be exposed to cancer-causing pollutants in their daily lives or at work. By adopting its report on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, Members of EU Parliament are shining a light on how  environmental pollution increases our cancer risk, and how speeding up action on the Green Deal is a public health opportunity to actually prevent cancer before it starts.”

Contact:

Ivonne Leenen, Senior Communications Officer at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), ivonne@env-health.org 

Notes: 

[1] European Parliament report ‘Strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer – towards a comprehensive and coordinated strategy’: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2022-0038_EN.pdf

[2] European Commission press release on its Communication ‘Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan: A new EU approach to prevention, treatment and care’ https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_21_342 

[3] HEAL demands for an ambitious Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan: https://www.env-health.org/4-demands-for-an-ambitious-europes-beating-cancer-plan/

HEAL and the European Cancer Leagues’ infographic on environmental prevention of cancer: https://www.env-health.org/heal-and-european-cancer-leagues-launch-infographic-illustrating-how-europe-can-prevent-cancer-by-tackling-environmental-pollutants/