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HEAL Newsflash - December 2011

::Environment & health::

New EU vehicle noise standards major health opportunity

Environment and health groups are urging the EU to take bolder action on cutting down noise levels from cars, vans, buses and lorries. After the 20 year wait for new standards, the EU Parliament and Council should now show more ambition than the EU Commission proposal to reduce noise at source. Learn more...


RES and HEAL on EFSA Bisphenol A Statement

On December 1, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a statement on bisphenol A (BPA) in response to reports from the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES). The ANSES reports gave a different assessment of the hazard posed by exposure to BPA, particularly at low levels, concluding it poses a risk for human health. Learn more...


PAN Europe: new report on derogation for soil fumigation: Metam

HEAL member Pesticide Action Network Europe has just published a report on the “essential use” of the soil fumigant Metam Sodium. After a first report which showed that derogations and loopholes are standard in EU pesticides policy, making it possible for EU Member States to continue to use pesticides which have been banned, the new report highlights this practice for Metam and shows the intransparent decision-making on this. Learn more...

::Climate change::

Durban climate outcomes and health gains

The COP17 climate change negotiations brought together an unprecedented global health coalition and a Durban Climate and Health Declaration was adopted in a parallel Climate and Health Summit that sent a resounding message to UNFCCC negotiators. Learn more...

Health mobilisation in Durban

The largest number ever of health delegations attended the international climate talks in Durban. Over 200 health groups attended the dozens of side-events. More than 250 delegates from 40 countries attended the Global Climate and Health Summit, where the establishment of a global climate and health coalition was proposed. Learn more...

Highlights from Durban

Here’s an opportunity to watch inspiring speakers from the UNFCCC COP17 in Durban, see a few photos, and read some of the best quotes given from health experts. Learn more...

::Air quality::

Energy Efficiency and health concerns

Energy Efficiency is high on the EU agenda with the European Parliament and the EU Member States currently discussing a legislative proposal. HEAL urges MEPs to include health concerns in their upcoming vote especially to ensure good indoor air quality in the process of making buildings more energy efficient. Learn more...

Air pollution from ships

HEAL joined many environment and trade organisations in a call to MEPs for stricter standards for the sulphur content of marine fuels. The health and environment impacts of air pollution from ships are a major worry in Europe, and MEPs have a huge opportunity to prevent further ill-health in their vote in early 2012. Learn more...


Please see our Mercury section on our website.

Other issues

Please see our Other issues section on our website.


Take Action

Call on European Parliament to ensure buildings are both healthy and energy efficient
Contact your Member of the European Parliament to urge them to include health concerns in their upcoming vote on the EU energy efficiency directive, in order to make buildings both energy efficient and health-friendly. Take action...

Submit comments to scientific opinion on potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF)
The European Commission has just opened a public consultation as part of an upcoming scientific opinion by the EU Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks SCENIHR on the potential health effects of exposure to EMF. Interested parties are invited to submit comments and relevant scientific evidence by 27 January 2012. Take action...

Extended Call for Case Studies in Good Practice for Environmental Health of Children & Youth
WECF together with HEAL are working to build examples of Good Practices on youth and children’s involvement in environment and health issues, following a project by UNEP in cooperation with other international organisations involved in the Health & Environment policy process. The due date for case study submissions is now 15 December. Take action...

Sign up to Durban Climate and Health Declaration and Durban Global Climate and Health Call to Action
A Declaration and “Call to Action” were presented at the first-ever Global Climate and Health Summit, which took place in Durban during the COP17. It’s already been signed by more than 30 major health groups. Add your organisation. Take action...

Endorse BMJ Climate, Security and Health statement, signed by more than 500 medical scientists, doctors and security experts
The statement calls on the European Union to unconditionally agree a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions domestically by 30% by 2020, and to prepare further targets towards 2050 which would incentivise the decarbonisation of the economy. Take action...


Acting now for a better Health - 30 % Reduction Target for EU Climate Policy (Informational Postcard) For the UNFCCC COP17 HEAL & Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) had on feature at its booth our ’Acting Now’ report on what stronger climate action would do for health via this new Information Postcard. It directs audiences to this joint report and helps provide policy makers with important evidence on the health benefits of mitigating climate change. Learn more...

WHO has new training modules for childrens’ environment and health The World Health Organisation (WHO) provides training packages for health care providers – paediatricians, family doctors, nurses, primary and other health care workers intended to improve the capacity to diagnose, prevent and manage childhood diseases linked to the environment. A DVD on “Interventions for Healthy Environments” is available. Learn more...

New Toxic Chemicals resource features HEAL’s tools The US Environmental Health Policy Institute which operates under the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) recently highlighted some key tools and resources for health professionals and others concerned about the health effects of industrial chemicals. Among them were HEAL’s list of databases on chemicals and health, as well as information on chemicals policy in Europe. The PSR is a non-profit organization which is a medical and public health voice for policies to slow, stop and reverse global warming and toxic degradation of the environment, among other things. Learn more...

Media coverage

Recognition of the harm to health from BPA by French regulatory body, ANSES prompted articles quoting HEAL in ENDS Europe, EU Food Policy and Chemical Watch in December 2011. We also featured strongly in a review of air quality policy in Euractiv. Finally, Pendo Maro’s excellent animation of a side event organised by HEAL and others in Durban at the COP17 climate talks prompted a full page article in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin the following day.

Full media coverage here.

Members’ News

Last updated on 9 March 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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Press: Elke Zander

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