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HEAL welcomes manifesto on breast cancer launched in UK


Brussels, 23 October 2013 - The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) welcomes the recommendations set out in Breast Cancer UK’s ‘Prevention is better than cure: 5 pledges for 2015 and beyond’ (see press release below).

HEAL is especially concerned about the need to improve the EU regulation of chemicals – which sets the parameters for national laws and policies. A forthcoming new strategy on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has been delayed since causing huge disappointment in the environmental health community.

Message from Lisette van Vliet, Senior Policy Advisor, HEAL:

"We welcome Breast Cancer UK’s challenge to the UK Government ‘to stop breast cancer before it starts".

"In May this year, a group of the world’s leading scientific experts on endocrine disrupting chemicals made the strongest ever call for swift regulatory action (1). Their Berlaymont Declaration says that “scientific uncertainty should not delay regulatory action and commercial interests must not take precedent over concerns about risks associated with endocrine disruptors".

The scientists noted that breast cancer was rising rapidly in Eastern and Southern European EU countries and that in Western Europe although the increases are slower or levelling off, the rates are much higher than 30 years ago.

We think ‘better safe than sorry’ should apply across the EU as soon as possible. More and more people are asking: why wait for more evidence before taking action?"

Some years ago, HEAL/CHEM Trust published a brochure entitled “Breast Cancer: Preventing the preventable, Exposure to certain man-made chemicals may be contributing to the breast cancer epidemic” (2). Based on a review of evidence prepared by Professor Andreas Kortenkamp, University of Brunel who will be speaking at the event in London today, the report concluded: “Given the known role of oestrogens in breast cancer, it would be prudent to reduce exposures to chemicals that can mimic oestrogen.”

Notes to Editors:

(1) HEAL responds to Berlaymont Declaration on endocrine disruptors, 24 May 2013

(2) HEAL/CHEM Trust publication - Breast Cancer: Preventing the preventable, 2012


Lisette van Vliet, Senior Policy Officer, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Email:, Mobile: +32 484 614 528

Diana Smith, Communications and Media Adviser, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Email:, Mobile: +33 6 33 04 2943


Breast Cancer UK calls for ’Prevention First’

New Manifesto challenges the Government to stop breast cancer before it starts

London, 23 October 2013 – Today, Breast Cancer UK published a new Manifesto entitled ‘Prevention is better than cure: 5 pledges for 2015 and beyond’ (1). The Manifesto, which will be formally launched at a Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons this afternoon (2), challenges policy makers to move beyond breast cancer ‘awareness’ to political action on the chemical causes of the disease.

“Record numbers of women are being diagnosed with breast cancer. Raising awareness is important, but the Government’s failure to tackle the chemical causes of the disease remains a fundamental weakness in its cancer prevention policy. Breast Cancer UK is challenging policy makers to adopt our 5 Manifesto pledges, to put prevention first and protect us all from chemicals of concern,” said Lynn Ladbrook, Chief Executive, Breast Cancer UK.

Breast Cancer UK’s 5 Manifesto pledges are:

1. Prioritise the primary prevention of breast cancer;
2. Improve the regulation of chemicals;
3. Protect the unborn child by offering advice to pregnant and breast feeding women;
4. Ban the use of Bisphenol A in food and drinks packaging;
5. Improve labelling laws and implement the ‘right to know’ what is in products.

In just a generation, England has seen a 90% rise in breast cancer cases (3). Many of the man-made chemicals used in our everyday products, such as shampoos, household cleaners and canned foods, are known to disrupt our hormones, which is an important factor in breast cancer risk. Most have never been adequately tested for hormone disrupting properties or other adverse health effects.

Professor of Toxicology at the Institute of Environment, University of Brunel, Andreas Kortenkamp, who is scheduled to speak at today’s Reception, said: “Reducing people’s routine exposure to these chemicals is one crucial step towards preventing breast cancer. Considering the high stakes for human health, the UK authorities have to be far more cautious.”

“Whilst we can choose products carefully to reduce our own individual exposure to chemicals that can affect our health, only political action that prioritises prevention, promotes safer chemicals and protects those most vulnerable to harm will spare many more of us the burden of this preventable disease,” said Ladbrook.

Breast Cancer UK is dedicated to preventing breast cancer by inspiring the changes necessary to reduce our routine exposure to the carcinogenic and hazardous chemicals in our environment and everyday products.

Breast Cancer UK’s Manifesto is supported by: Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Cancer Prevention and Education Society, CHEM Trust and Client Earth.

Notes to Editors:

(1) Read the Manifesto, ‘Prevention is better than cure: 5 pledges for 2015 and beyond’ at:

(2) The Parliamentary Reception will be hosted by Mr. Steve Brine MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Breast Cancer. Guest speakers will include the Rt. Hon. Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and
Professor Andreas Kortenkamp, Professor of Toxicology at the Institute of Environment, Brunel University.

(3) Office for National Statistics. ‘Breast Cancer: Incidence, Mortality and Survival, 2010’.


Lynn Ladbrook, Chief Executive, Breast Cancer UK, Tel: 00447786 393181

Matilda Bradshaw, Communications Manager, Breast Cancer UK, Tel: 0044777 582 8634


Last updated on 24 October 2013

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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 »


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