Health groups call on the leaders of the Western Balkan countries to harmonize national air quality standards with the World Health Organization Global air quality guidelines. Health experts should be actively involved in these decision-making processes to ensure the timely integration of public health measures into environmental policies. Compliance with WHO recommendations brings multiple benefits – reduced incidence of chronic diseases and premature deaths, reduced overall health costs and, most importantly, better health and higher productivity of people.
The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) today released its vision for Europe leading the transition towards a non-toxic environment and called on the European Commission to finally draw its long promised strategy for a non-toxic environment. For that, HEAL recommends 12 priorities actions.
Under the 7th Environment Action Programme, the European Commission is legally committed to release a Union’s strategy for a non-toxic environment by the end of 2018  – leaving only six months for action and yet there is no sign of any development of such a strategy.
Delivering an ambitious strategy will be a game changer, providing a much needed framework to reach a truly toxic-free circular economy in the next years. The delivery of the plastics strategy, the development of an efficient chemicals products/waste interface, and the advancement of a circular economy have been raising numerous policy and public debates over the last months, showing the need for more coordination that puts health and environment protection first.
Génon K. Jensen, Executive Director at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), said:
“An ambitious non-toxic environment strategy will allow Europe to lead the way towards a truly circular economy. Focusing on preventing toxics from getting in the loop in the first place, looking at the true effect of the mixtures of chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis and regulating chemicals across all uses will not only improve the health of all Europeans, but also provide a more predictive framework for those businesses that invest in safe products and boost innovation.“
The letter HEAL sent to the European Commission can be found here.