Health affected groups

Vulnerable groups are more susceptible to health effects of environmental pollution
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Environment policies need to protect all echelons of society, this includes vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, children, babies the elderly or infirm.

These groups are more susceptible to environmental pollution or more affected because of their socio-economic status. HEAL advocates for policies to protect their health, and works to bring their voice to policy makers.

Our current work focuses on cancer patient groups and farmers whose health has been affected by the use of pesticides.

  • Mobilising farmers affected by pesticide use - In June 2009, HEAL’s Sick of Pesticides campaign and member organisation, Generations Futures launched a "pesticide victims" network. The network consists of French farmers who suffer from health problems associated with regular exposure to pesticides. Many have received legal recognition that their ongoing health problems are related to long-term exposure to pesticides. In March 2011, “Victimes des Pesticides” became an advocacy organisation in its own right called, Phyto Victimes.
  • Mobilising cancer patient groups to address the "missing link" in fight against cancer - In November 2010, HEAL hosted a Cancer and Environment Week to raise awareness of the links between cancer causation and involuntary exposure to toxic chemicals in our everyday environments. With the help of the European Cancer Patients Coalition (ECPC), the events helped to bring our message to over three-hundred national cancer groups in the EU. As part of the week, cancer groups compiled ‘Environment and Cancer testimonies’, which provide a snapshot of priorities for action and demonstrate that cancer patients are increasingly concerned about chemicals in our environment.
  • Engaging asthma and allergy sufferers in raising awareness of how to improve air quality in Europe - Recent science shows that air pollution from transport could be responsible for up to 30% of all new asthma cases in children living near busy roads. Poor indoor and outdoor air quality affects everyone, particularly those with respiratory diseases, such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). HEAL works with our member organisation, European Federation of Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association (EFA) to bring information to the public about air quality in Europe. We have created a dedicated website with news and updates in several languages.
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 »

Contact us

Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
28 Boulevard Charlemagne
B1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 234 3640
Fax: +32 2 234 3649
Press: Elke Zander

Direct telephone numbers: HEAL team page.

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