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The European Parliament will hold an exchange with French President Emmanuel Macron regarding the programme of activities of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU (January – June 2022) on 19 January 2022. At the onset of the third year of Covid-19 pandemic, HEAL underlines how this exchange is a major opportunity for MEPs  to demand urgent,  non-ambiguous and much needed EU action to address environmental pollution, which affects everyone’s health in our society, starting with the most vulnerable. 

The science is clear that the quality and state of the environment are a major determinant of health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about one fifth of all deaths and diseases in the European region are caused by environmental pollution. Ambitious EU measures on environmental protection, especially in the implementation of the European Green Deal,  are therefore a not-to-be missed prevention opportunity. Beating pollution today will help us prevent disease tomorrow for everyone.

HEAL urges MEPs to call on President Macron to:

Take a leap on protecting people’s health and the environment from hazardous pesticides by:

  • Guaranteeing, as part of France’s role as co-rapporteur  in the ongoing EU re-assessment of glyphosate, that all the independent scientific evidence regarding health impacts is taken into account and supporting the non-renewal of the substance before its EU market approval ends on 15 December 2022, based on the extensive existing evidence of health-harm;
  • Incorporating strict reduction targets in the ongoing  revision of the “Sustainable Use of Pesticides” Directive and leading the EU towards a 80% gradual reduction of the use of synthetic pesticides by 2030 aiming at a total phase out by 2035, taking into consideration that pesticides currently present in our food, water and air can increase the risk of cancer and infertility, harm children’s healthy development and disrupt our hormonal systems.

Champion the health and environment-protective implementation of the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability by: 

  • Supporting and positively contributing to the ongoing revision of EU legislation on hazard classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals (CLP), with particular emphasis on  the establishment of legally binding hazard classes for the identification of: 
  • endocrine disrupting chemicals according to the existing levels of scientific evidence (known, presumed, suspected);
  • chemicals that are (very) persistent, (very) bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT/vPvB) and (very) persistent, (very) mobile and toxic (PMT/vPvM).    
  • Supporting the European Commission to apply the generic approach to risk assessment for all harmful chemicals across regulations by extending the existing provisions that currently allow banning known and presumed carcinogens, mutagens or reprotoxicants under the pesticides or cosmetics regulations. Such a holistic approach across uses and legislations will contribute to increasing the protection levels of all Europeans and guaranteeing safer products on the European market.

Lead the way for  the transformative change needed in tackling the magnitude of the health harm and cost caused by air pollution by:

  • Supporting full alignment of the EU’s legally binding limit values by 2030 with the WHO air quality guidelines and the latest science, as part of the ongoing revision of the Ambient Air Quality Directives. This would enable the EU to transition to clean air for all during the current decade, and contribute to a successful implementation of the European Green Deal’s commitment on zero pollution.