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HEAL Newsflash - April 2012

  • Countdown to Rio+20

With less than 100 days to go to the UN conference on sustainable development, Rio+20, from 20-22 June, preparations among global leaders and civil society are intensifying. Many health groups and the World Health Organization, are working towards Rio+20, aiming to recognize health as the fourth pillar in sustainability. Read more…

  • EU consults on tackling chronic diseases

The European Commission has started a long-awaited consultation with citizens, patients and health professionals on further EU actions on chronic diseases. Chronic diseases, such as cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases or diabetes, account for the majority of illness and deaths in Europe. HEAL thinks that a strong environmental protection agenda is key for chronic disease prevention. Read more…

  • Spotlight on noise and health

25 April is International Noise Awareness Day, a day to flag up the risks of noise to hearing, health and quality of life. With the scientific evidence of health impacts from environmental noise mounting, more awareness on which policy changes can reduce noise exposure is overdue. Decision-makers in the European Parliament and the Council now have the unique opportunity to reduce noise at the source and protect our health. Read more…

  • Putting health at the centre of the EU Environment Action Programme

In mid-April, EU Environment ministers will come together to discuss the content of the 7 EU Environment Action Programme, ahead of Council conclusions scheduled for June. Given the urgency of the public health challenges because of environmental degradation, a health & environment priority should again be a key element. Read more…

  • Daily chemical exposure adds to obesity and diabetes risk

Scientific evidence provides new urgency for banning certain chemicals to protect health. Hormone disrupting chemicals, also called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), in food and consumer products may be causing obesity and diabetes. Read more …

  • Challenges and solutions in the regulation of chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties

The EU is developing an agreed way to identify chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties, for future regulatory action. To ensure these criteria catch harmful EDCs and enable swift reduction of exposures to protect public health, HEAL advocates that important scientific studies be used and that chemicals are not excused on the basis of a misleading indicator of risk. Find out more here…

  • HEAL speaks at French Senate on pesticides and health

Lisette van Vliet, HEAL’s Toxics Policy Advisor addressed a well-attended congress on pesticides and health at the Palais du Luxembourg, Paris (Senate building) organised by Generations Futures on 23 March 2012. It was entitled Pesticides and health : Which paths forward are possible ? (« Pesticides et santé : Quelles voies d’amélioration possibles ? »). Learn more ...

  • Briefing for policy makers: The health benefits of greenhouse gas reduction policies

HEAL has just released a briefing intended for policy makers from both the climate and energy sectors as well as the health sector in Europe. It summarizes the key scientific findings on the health costs and co-benefits of climate policies in industrialized countries from the last years. Learn more and download here…

  • Questions & Answers: Moving Beyond 20% - How reducing greenhouse gas emissions benefits people’s health in the EU

The aim of this question and answer review is to explain why health will benefit from higher emission reduction levels. In addition it presents the figures for the health-benefits of individual Member States, and highlights the evidence on why the Commission assessment is likely to be underestimation. Learn more and download here…

  • Act now or face costly consequences, warns OECD

Environment and health groups are alarmed by the OECD’s prediction that urban air pollution will be the top environmental cause of mortality worldwide by 2050, ahead even of dirty water and lack of sanitation. The OECD outlook examines past trends and projects future trends if new policies are not introduced to reduce these risks. Learn more here…



  • 10 April - Paris, France: Conference on fertility, phthalates and EDCs
  • 17 April – France : Documentary release of “La mort est dans le pré”


  • 3 May - Brussels, Belgium: High level Conference on EU Health Programmes: results and future perspectives
  • 14-16 May - Paris, France: Conference on Prenatal Programming and Toxicity (PPTOX)
  • 16-18 May - Madrid, Spain: Congress on Risks for Public Health & the Environment


  • 6 June - Brussels, Belgium: EPHA Annual Conference 2012 - Restructuring health systems: How to promote health in times of austerity?
  • 13-14 June - Paris, France: ERA-ENVHEALTH final conference

Click here to discover a complete overview and additional information on events

Take Action

  • Put environmental health in the EU consultation on chronic diseases

The European Commission has launched a long awaited consultation on the EU reflection process on chronic diseases. Review their discussion paper and submit input by 15 April. Learn more here…

  • Ensure consultation on future EU environment programme includes heath as a priority

The European Commission has launched a public consultation to gather views on the 7th Environmental Action Programme (7th EAP), which will set out priority objectives for EU environmental policy to be pursued up until 2020. Review the consultation and give your input by June 1. Take action here…


Media coverage

CHEM Trust’s new report, “Review of the science linking chemical exposures to the human risk of obesity and diabetes” took HEAL into Chemical Watch and Digital Journal in March. Over 120 articles were published spread throughout 15 European and 16 other countries. The report was featured in leading national newspapers in UK, France, Ireland, Spain and Belgium and on national television in Germany.

Members’ news

The Paris City Council passed a unanimous motion in favour of gradually replacing the use of perchlorethylene by dry cleaners, considered a "probable carcinogen", in favour of "alternative technologies".

In a BBC radio Woman’s Hour feature on the film Pink Ribbons Inc. about corporate sponsorship of breast cancer charities, the Alliance for Cancer Prevention was represented by founder member, Andrew Watterson. He made the case for the environmental causes of cancer and was critical of how little money was invested in prevention.

On the occasion of the World Water Day, EPHA encouraged policy makers and citizens alike to join and sign the first European petition on Water and Sanitation asking for the European Union to help achieve universal access to water and sanitation within and outside the European Union.

Professor Carolyn Stephens discusses several strategies that can be adopted to halt biodiversity loss and preserve valuable ecosystems. This seminar explores vital research and policy agenda that might emerge if we work with indigenous and local communities to understand our links to, and our place in, our biodiverse planet.

Every year there are about 220,000 people worldwide who die of the consequences of pesticides. This data from the WHO calls on us to reflect on the risks of these chemicals that are consumed on a daily basis by millions of people. This year, FundaciónVivosano and the Health Defense Organisation contributed and promoted the campaign in Spain.

PAN Europe says EU Commission’s health and consumers department has caved in to farmers and industry lobby request when crop rotation would have been a much better option. This current decision is likely to lead to a massive increase in pesticide use unless the simple agronomic practice of crop rotation is implemented as a countermeasure.

The European Child Safety Alliance´s national partner Beterem has won government endorsement for its Child Safety Action Plan (CSAP). A government resolution passed for “planning a perennial program to promote child safety in Israel”.

Originally posted on 6 April 2012

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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