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HEAL Newsletter - February 2009

A monthly update for the health and environment community in Europe

Environment and Health Policy

EU takes a stand on noise pollution from tyres

The European Parliament and EU member states agreed new tyre rolling resistance and noise limits. The agreement came in February as part of a first reading agreement on new EU vehicle type approval rules. The text follows the Commission’s original proposed text on rolling resistance and noise emissions. Specific derogations for snow tyres and "special use" tyres, such as special duty or off-road use, were introduced. The deal is expected to be endorsed by the full parliament in a plenary (...)

New Environment and Health Network in France

The 3rd March saw the launch of the French environment and health network, Reseau Environment Santé (RES). RES brings together a coalition of groups including environmental NGOs, health affected and scientific groups as well as health professionals in France – MDRGF, WWF France, Objectif Bio, Nord Ecologie Consiel, Fac Verte, Foundation Sciences Citoyennes. It is supported by two European networks, the Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF). RES (...)

About us & our members

ARTAC conducts a study on electrosensitivity

HEAL member ARTAC, the Association for Research and Treatments Against Cancer, is a French organisation of medical professionals and researchers, which investigates amongst others the implication of chemical exposure on cancer causation. ARTAC warns that today people are not only exposed to chemical pollution, but also to electromagnetic pollution. This pollution is caused by the increasing presence of electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones, wireless internet, cordless phones, (...)

HEAL Secretariat News February 2009

Staff changes

Gill Erskine joined the HEAL staff for a six-month internship as a Policy and Communication Assistant on 3 March 2009. Originally from Scotland, she has been working in London for the past three years. She started out as a researcher in organic cotton and ethical clothing and then moved into sustainability within the built environment – particularly looking at community aspects of building, building related diseases and responses to climate change.

Publications Joint (...)

Women’s Environmental Network launches online checklist for cosmetics

On 28 February, Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) launched an online checklist which will give consumers the information they need to choose cosmetics they can trust.

The checklist, dubbed Careful Beauty, checks 22 companies against 20 health, environmental and ethical criteria. It shows which companies’ beauty products avoid some potentially harmful ingredients. “While beauty products are designed to make us look and feel better about ourselves, the majority of modern cosmetics are (...)

Resources & Media

Book Review: Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on Our Children

Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on Our Children By Philip Shabecoff and Alice Shabecoff Random House, 2008

Book Information: With indisputable data, the authors reveal that the children of baby boomers – the first to be raised in a truly “toxified” world – have higher rates of birth defects, asthma, cancer, autism and other serious illnesses than previous generations. The Shabecoffs provide evidence that our homes are now infested with toxic consumer products containing additives (...)

Mercury and health

Argentina takes an important step in protecting consumers from mercury

Argentina is now one among the few countries that are actively trying to ban mercury from all medical devices because of efforts by local doctors and NGOs. Organised by Healthcare Without Harm and a number of other organisations that work on toxicology, the campaign targeted thermometers and blood pressure measuring devices that contain mercury. Resolution 139/2009, signed on February 23rd, requires hospitals and clinics to purchase safe mercury-free versions of this medical equipment. The (...)

Report: Mercury in fish is a global concern

The international Zero Mercury Working Group released a study called “Mercury in Fish: An Urgent Global Health Concern”. The study investigates the significant global human health hazards caused by mercury in fish and fish-eating marine mammals. The problem demands an effective response from governments and the United Nations.

According to the report, the risk is greatest: in populations whose per capita fish consumption is high; in areas where pollution has elevated the average mercury (...)


Early-life chemical exposures impact breast cancer risk later

A scientific review article called “State of the Evidence The Connection Between Breast Cancer and the Environment” published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health shows that a host of chemicals that mimic or alter the activities of natural hormones can potentially increase breast cancer risk. The Breast Cancer Fund presented the scientific review article, which summarizes the findings of more than 400 epidemiological and experimental studies, indicates that (...)

Hot off the press: 1st SIN Reporter newsletter

The International Chemicals Secretariat announces the first edition of the SIN Reporter (spring 2009). The SIN Reporter will give periodic updates and outcomes from the release of the SIN (Substitute It Now!) List in October 2008.

The Spring 2009 edition includes:

  • San Francisco Department of Environment workshop: California dreaming meets the SIN List
  • Business update: Carrefour substitutes
  • Playing with chemicals
  • CEFIC feels the heat
  • EU Member States discuss SIN List
  • The SIN List (...)

Prenatal Exposures: New database of chemicals and health effects unveiled

Newly launched on Tuesday 10 February, the Critical Windows of Development is a unique interactive web page from TEDX (The Endocrine Disruption Exchange) that pairs human development in the womb with laboratory research showing where and when low-dose exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, and dioxin has effects. Future chemicals to be included are PCBs, PBDEs, DDT and more. Before a baby is born, it is exposed to a myriad of endocrine disrupting (...)

SCENIHR releases Risk Assessment on genotoxic and carcinogenic substances

The European Commission and the Scientific Committees on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER), Consumer Products (SCCP) and Emerging and Newly Identified Risks (SCENIHR) have adopted an opinion on the “Risk Assessment methodologies and approaches for genotoxic and carcinogenic substances” at the 28th plenary of 19 January 2009. This release comes after scientific review and a public consultation run by the European Commission. The Risk Assessment concludes that each compound requires a (...)


Call for the French Cancer Plan to recognise environmental factors

In February, the Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL) and the Mouvement pour les Droits et le respect des Générations Futures (MDRGF) coordinated a petition to call for the inclusion of environmental factors, such as pesticides exposure within the new French Cancer Plan – something that was overlooked in the previous plan.

This cyber action was organized in the framework of HEAL and MDRGF “Sick of pesticides” campaign on pesticides and cancer. With 6000 responses in two weeks, the ([...>art1006])

Climate Change

Energy-efficient buildings: A chance to create healthy and eco-friendly indoor environments

The European Union is currently reviewing its legislation to improve the energy efficiency of the building sector. The recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) offers a unique opportunity to bring together environment and health objectives, and to generate substantial cost savings. More energy efficient and eco-friendly buildings would help achieve climate change mitigation by reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. In the current crisis, politicians are also looking to the construction sector to get the economy moving (...).

Climate change leads to more hospitalisations, new study suggests

A new study suggests that high summer temperatures pushed higher by climate change may bring a spike in hospitalisations for respiratory problems.

The analysis of data from 12 European cities comes from a multi-center, three-year collaboration among epidemiologists, meteorologists and experts in public health that investigated the short-term effects of weather in Europe.

The project evaluated the effects of higher temperatures on hospitalisations for a number of different conditions in (...)

Air Quality

Survey of organisations and agencies working on Damp and Mould

Are you a national agency, institution, or NGO active in advising and informing the public on questions of damp and mould prevention as well as remediation? Are you involved in legal aspects related to damp and mould or in managing remedial action?

If yes, please fill in the questionnaire below (available in English and Russian) and send it back by email to: or by fax: 0032 2 234 3649.

The information you provide will be listed the a brochure and web page produced by (...)

Environmental diseases

Release of WHO’s and IARC’s World Cancer Report 2008

The World Health Organisation’s and IARC’s have released their World Cancer Report 2008, providing an overview of the current understandings of cancer causes, development, prevention and treatment. The report is a scientific basis for public health action and will help towards reducing cancer morbidity and mortality and to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and their families. Of particular interest to HEAL, is the information on potential cancer causes from exposure to (...)

More issues

European Parliament weighs in on health effects of electromagnetic fields

The “continuing uncertainties about possible health risks” related to the exposure to electromagnetic fields are the basis of an own-initiative report by MEP Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE), which was adopted on the 17th of February by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, with 43 votes in favour and one against. The Committee’s report will be voted on in the March plenary. On 4 September 2008, the European Parliament already adopted a resolution on the mid-term (...)

Finnish health authority warns against wireless networks

Recently, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) has urged the public to restrict their children’s mobile phone use. The authority is now also warning for the possible health effects of wireless networks, which cause exposure to potentially harmful emissions. “It would be good if the network base station were located as far away from people as possible,” says senior scientist Lauri Puranen of STUK. In 2007, the German Federal Government issued a similar warning. It (...)

HEAL reports on European Commission workshop on electromagnetic fields

On the 11 and 12 February, the European Commission organised the workshop ‘EMF and Health: Science and Policy to address public concerns’.

The workshop gathered about 150 policy makers (services from the European Commission and members of the European Parliament), scientists, representatives of concerned citizens, representatives from industry and other stakeholders. The aim was to generate “a broad and constructive dialogue” and to come to “conclusions that would help to orient the EU (...)

Social Fairness in Sustainable Development – A Green and Social Europe

A conference - ’Social Fairness in Sustainable Development – A Green and Social Europe’ – was hosted in Brussels last week by the European Commission to examine the social repercussions of unsustainable development and discuss how a greener economy, coupled with stronger social cohesion, could be achieved in tandem.

The conference came on the back of a policy briefing, released last year by the European Commission, which brought to light the findings of a 2006 study revealing (...)

Last updated on 30 June 2011

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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Phone: +32 2 234 3640
Fax: +32 2 234 3649
Press: Elke Zander

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