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International Symposium in French Senate on the impact of early life exposure to toxic chemicals

Earlier this month, HEAL’s Executive Director Genon K. Jensen spoke at an event organised by HEAL member Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) on stopping chemicals contamination of pregnant women and babies chemicals and health. HEAL participated in a panel focused on tools and policies to prevent prenatal exposure to toxic chemicals, highlighting protective EDC criteria as an immediate public health opportunity.

Before they are even born, children are exposed to a variety of chemical contaminants. Scientific evidence on the impacts on human health of this early life exposure to toxic chemicals accumulates, and health professionals witness an alarming increase of diseases such as reproductive health disorders, metabolic diseases, neurodevelopmental conditions, and respiratory diseases. A new approach which includes prevention is required in public policy, health and perinatal professionals practice and among civil society stakeholders.

On 9 June HEAL Member Women in Europe for a Common Future France (WECF) organised an international symposium with the support of the French Ministry of Environment, Energy and the Sea to explore solutions towards a better protection of the perinatal period of development from chemical contaminations. This high-level symposium was hosted by French senators who have been strong advocates for environmental health prevention measures in France.

The Symposium focused on ways to engage public authorities, perinatal professionals and civil society on primary prevention and the importance of environmental health issues in health practices. Key stakeholders presented updated information on best practices around primary prevention and the integration of environmental health in health practice.

Speakers included HEAL’s Executive Director Genon K. Jensen, Dr Jeanne Conry, Past President of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Assistant Physician-in-Chief, North Valley, Kaiser Permanente; Professor Dr Ibrahim Chahoud, Institute of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Charité-Université de Médecine, Berlin, and; Patrice Sutton, Academic Coordinator, Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, University of California, San Francisco. You can view the full programme here.

The event was an opportunity to promote the recommendations of FIGO’s (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) historic Opinion on chemical contaminations, released in October 2015. HEAL’s article on the topic is available here (Global Obstetrics and Gynaecology group warn of harm to babies from toxic chemicals in consumer products) and in French here.

Further resources:
WECF website

Project Nesting, WECF

• ‘Pregnant – How to Protect Your Child from EDCs’, video by WECF (English - Dutch - German - Spanish).

• HEAL Resource: Impact of EDCs on pregnant women

UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment FIGO. Resource page including statement, infographics, videos and posters -
• Watch a short animated video “Why are obgyn’s talking toxics?” about the FIGO Opinion here.

Last updated on 7 July 2016

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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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