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HEAL Newsletter March 2009

A monthly update for the health and environment community in Europe

Environment and Health Policy

Challenge your candidates to the European Parliament on environment and health

Between 4 June and 7 June 2009, each member state of the European Union will hold elections to select their Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). This election is critical to the interests of people all across Europe, and voting in an educated and thoughtful way is one of the most important actions that you can take this year. That is why the Health and Environmental Alliance has developed a questionnaire that citizens concerned about environmental and health issues can use to hold (...)

UK publishes Children’s Environment and Health Strategy

The United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency recently released a document detailing how the environment affects children’s health and what can be done to improve current conditions. This report is based on the World Health Organisation’s Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE), in which participating countries from across the European Region agreed to develop plans to improve children’s health. According to this new strategy, it is important (...)

About us & our members

HEAL Secretariat News March 2009


  • Leaflet: Harmful chemicals in products you buy? Your right to know now available in different languages
  • Postcard in French: Carte postale: Ville Zero Pesticides

Press releases

  • 23/03/2009, New poll shows the UK is sick of pesticides
  • 20/03/2009, Des espaces publics en vert et contre tout pesticide
  • 13/03/2009, 5-MINUTE TASK FOR YOUR HEALTH: Help push harmful chemicals off the market!, also in Czech, German, French and Dutch.
  • Conferences and meetings
  • On 3 March, Aurele (...)

WECF publishes Toys Guide with tips on how to choose toxic-free toys

In March, HEAL member WECF- Women in Europe for a Common Future published a Toys Guide which provides tips on choosing toxic- free toys. The practical brochure provides concise information about the most hazardous substances found in toys and what the potential dangers are, and provides concrete tips on how consumers can play it safe when buying toys for children.

You can download the guides here: French Toys Guide English Toys Guide Dutch Toys Guide German Toys (...)

Women’s Environmental Network petitions the Scottish Parliament over cancer-causing toxins

On 3 March, HEAL member, the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) Scotland presented a petition to the Scottish Parliament urging them to investigate cancer-causing toxins. The petition, presented to the Public Petitions Committee for Scotland, called for an investigation into links between exposure to hazardous toxins in the environment and the rising incidence of cancers and other chronic illnesses. WEN accompanied this with a week long exhibition within the Scottish Parliament. Over the (...)

Resources & Media

HEAL in the Media (January-March 2009)

During the past three months, HEAL’s media coverage has reached well beyond the usual policy publications and websites to reach national newspapers, magazines and radio programmes in France, Italy, Greece and the UK.

In January, HEAL was quoted in leading Italian daily La Stampa newspaper, in Galileo and in a Greek newspaper called "Real News" on our reaction to the positive EU parliamentary vote on pesticide regulation (13 January). We were also featured in Euractiv (a European policy (...)

Voting for "healthy people and a healthy planet" in the European elections, June 4-7

Would you like to know the position of different candidate European Parliamentarians (MEPs) on promoting health through strong environmental policy? Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) hopes to be able to provide this information to you in time for voting in the June elections (...)


European Trade Union Confederation releases list of priority chemicals

On 31 March, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) released their priority list of chemicals to be authorised under the European Union’s chemicals legislation REACH. This list includes 306 substances that ETUC wishes to be placed on the candidate list of substances of very high concern, showing the organisation’s commitment to a strong implementation of REACH.

ETUC is among the first major organisations to release their list, ahead of the member states and the European Commission. (...)

HEAL and its partners celebrate European consumer day

On 13 March 2009, the Health and Environment Alliance together with partners (see below) celebrated the European consumer day by launching new materials for the public on the new consumer’s right to know about harmful chemicals in products as established by the REACH chemicals law. LEAFLET Companies must tell you, at no charge, about harmful chemicals present in many consumer products, but ONLY if you ask. Read a new leaflet entitled: “Harmful chemicals in products you buy? Your right to (...)

MEPs approve new rules on safer cosmetics

On 24 March, the European Parliament approved an update of EU legislation on cosmetics voting on a first-reading agreement thrashed out between EP and Council representatives. The basic aim of the new regulation is to remove legal uncertainties and inconsistencies, while increasing the safety of cosmetics. Parliament’s amendments add further improvements, especially regarding the claims companies make for their products and the safety of nanomaterials used in cosmetics. Broad backing for (...)


Environmental health practitioners urged to promote "pesticide-free" public spaces

The February 2009 issue of Environmental Health Practitioners makes a direct appeal to those working to protect work and home environments in the UK by reducing pesticide use.

Written by Genon K Jensen, HEAL’s Executive Director, Hazard control describes how hazardous chemicals are known to contribute to a range of health problems, and the proposals that HEAL has for "pesticides-free" public spaces.

The proposals are being promoted in the UK by the "Sick of Pesticides" campaign. The ([...art1040])

European Commission launches database of approved pesticides under Directive 91/141

On 16 March 2009, the European Commission launched a database of approved active substances for pesticides, which is the result of a lengthy evaluation process. From now on, Member States may only authorise pesticides which include active substances featured in this list.

In 1993 the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Member States launched a review of all active substances, authorised since 1991, used in plant protection products within the EU. At the (...)

HEAL and MDRGF launch postcard action for pesticide-free cities

During Week Without Pesticides (20-30 March), HEAL and member organisation Mouvement pour les Droits et le Respect des Génerations Futures (MDRGF) launched a postcard action calling on municipalities across France to phase out the use of pesticides in public places, such as parks, school and sports grounds. The objective of the postcard action is two-fold. It aims to raise the awareness of the public and local authorities on the hazardous effects of pesticides on children’s health. The (...)

New poll shows the UK is sick of pesticides

A new poll carried out by GfK NOP for the HEAL Sick of Pesticides Campaign UK in March 2009 reveals that half the UK population is concerned about pesticides, not only on their food but also in parks and other public places. The poll showed that:

  • 59% of those interviewed are worried that food and drink may be contaminated (strongly agree 24% plus slightly agree 35%) and
  • 48% of respondents believe that parks, sports grounds and playgrounds may pose a risk because of pesticide use in (...)

PAN UK’s new ’List of Lists’ on pesticides and health

The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) UK have just published their updated List of Lists - an invaluable reference for identifying pesticides associated with harmful health and environmental impacts. The Third revised and updated List of Lists is compiled from official sources - namely the World Health Organisation and the US Environmental Protection Agency - and from information shared by public interest organisations. The List of Lists provides extensive coverage of pesticides, (...)

US Environment Protection Agency supports pesticide use reduction in schools

Schools in the US are encouraged to radically decrease their pesticide usage by 2015 in plans unveiled in January by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This new plan would cut school pesticide use by 70%, but some say voluntary guidelines are not enough. Under the new plan, all public schools are encouraged to adopt Integrated Pest Management practices (IPM) by 2015. This could reduce the use of pesticides by at least 70 percent, experts predict. However some health (...)

Climate Change

European Youth Forum debate on the role of young people in fighting climate change

On 12 March, the European Youth Forum held a Round Table in Brussels to discuss the role of youth in combating climate change. Much of the debate focused on Europe’s role within climate change. It was widely noted that the European Commission’s January 2009 communication - “Towards a comprehensive climate change agreement in Copenhagen” - lacks coherent measures to reach the targets and mention of how the leverage the finances required. Speakers included Stéphane Buffetaut, President of (...)

New paper highlights the role of the health care sector in combating climate change

A new paper entitled "Beyond Climate Focus and Disciplinary Myopia. The Roles and Responsibilities of Hospitals and Healthcare Professionals" was published on 19 March. The paper calls for the need to approach climate change within the framework of sustainable development - recognising the multiple interrelationships between environmental, economic and social systems. The paper was written by John P. Ulhøi of the School of Business at Aarhus University and Benedicte P. Ulhøi of Aarhus (...)

WHO says reducing greenhouse emissions could cut global disease burden by 25%

The World Health Organisation urged policy makers to consider the serious implications of climate change on health, at a conference in Copenhagen on 10-12 March.

Speaking at the conference - Climate Change Global Risks, Challenges, and Decisions - the World Health Organisation (WHO) argued that improving environmental conditions could help reduce the global disease burden by more than 25%.

Currently, WHO has estimated that about 150 000 people die each year in poor countries from the (...)

World’s leading scientists urge politicians to act on climate change

From 10 to 12 March, 2,500 of the world’s leading scientists met in Copenhagen and issued a plea to politicians to act now on climate change, warning that without action the effects could be disastrous. The International Scientific Congress on climate change - "Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions" - was attended by more than 2,500 scientists from nearly 80 countries and organised in cooperation with universities in the International Alliance of Research Universities (...)

More issues

Parliament backs NGOs’ calls for tighter controls on nanotechnology

March saw the European Parliament’s Environment Committee vote on controls of nanomaterials. The results supported almost all key issues raised by NGOs.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Europe’s largest federation of environmental citizens’ organizations, have been a prominant force behind the push for stricter controls. They were extremely pleased with the results of the vote.

The Parliamentary vote runs contrary to the European Commission’s belief that nanomaterials are ([...-art1051])

Tyres to get energy, noise and safety label

Tyre and vehicle retailers will have to provide customers with detailed information on the energy efficiency, safety and noise performance of tyres following a vote in the European Parliament’s industry committee on 31 March.

Transport and Environment (T&E), the sustainable transport campaign group and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) welcomed the agreement, which goes further than a European Commission legal proposal issued last year. The labels, which will show ratings for (...)

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
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Press: Elke Zander

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