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Reducing rates of cancer cannot be achieved without reducing exposure to certain chemicals
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Reducing rates of childhood cancer, congenital malformations, developmental problems, and asthma and allergies cannot be achieved without reducing exposure to certain chemicals.

Cancer rates in Europe continue to rise at huge cost to our individual and family lives, our productivity and our health services, and society overall. Currently, one man in two and one woman in three is - or will be - affected by cancer. One in four will die from cancer.

The role that environmental factors play in cancer causation, specifically carcinogenic substances and other cancer-related chemicals, is increasingly recognised. Consequently, reducing exposure to hazardous substances is gaining prominence as a key approach to cancer prevention. A recent scientific review by the World Health Organization (WHO) defines the burden of chemicals on health as "considerable" and recommends further public health interventions. In March 2011 the WHO Asturias Declaration, A Call to Action was agreed, putting environmental and occupational factors in first place in the primary prevention of cancer. A similar recommendation is made in the recent official US report by the President’s Panel on Cancer.

HEAL welcomes this progress and recommends that more attention be given to tackle environmental and occupational determinants of cancer - especially the removal from the market of chemicals that are carcinogens, mutagens, toxic to reproduction, and disruptive to the endocrine system. We also believe that non-governmental groups can play an important role in encouraging the EU and national governments to set specific targets and deadlines that will verifiably reduce people’s exposure. The Declaration recognises that this approach can both save lives and billions of dollars in financial costs.

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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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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