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Watch the video to celebrate Pesticides Action Week 2013

Information release

Brussels, 27 March 2013 – The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Pesticides Action Network Europe (PAN E) have launched a video clip to urge organisations to join the “EDC Free campaign” as part of activities in Pesticides Action Week (20-30 March 2013). Watch it here (1)

“Endocrine disrupting pesticides” are one of the themes of this year’s Pesticides Action Week (Semaine pour les alternatives aux pesticides). The overall aim of the week is to highlight the risks to health and the environment from pesticides – and to promote the alternatives. In Brussels, HEAL and PAN E held a briefing for journalists and the video is one of the outcomes of the event.

As the video explains, the EDC-Free campaign aims to keep the issue of regulating endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) firmly in the public eye and urge quicker governmental action on hormone disrupting chemicals to reduce our everyday exposure. The campaign was collectively launched by over 20 major public interest groups across Europe, including consumers and trade unions, public health and healthcare professionals, advocates for cancer prevention, environmentalists and women’s groups. The campaign website features news from EDC campaign partners on how they are raising public awareness and helping to reduce our exposure to build an EDC Free future in Europe. Organisations can join this initiative as campaign supporters on line, or sign up for EDC Free campaign news.

Although HEAL and PAN Europe have been supporting Pesticide Action Week for many years at the European level, thousands of activities take place annually across the globe with the vast majority of them taking place in France, where the Pesticides Action Week was initiated by Générations Futures (formerly MDRGF) in 2006.

Top-profile events in FRANCE included the release by Générations Futures of the first part of a new series of reports on endocrine disrupting pesticides.(2) Entitled, EXPPERT – EXposition aux Pesticides PERTurbateurs Endocriniens, the report looked at people’s exposure to certain endocrine disrupting insecticides in cereal-based food such as pasta, bread or cookies (as pesticide residues). It also addressed exposure through the use of common household products containing these insecticides, such as those used on bedding, in textiles, in the garden or in anti-flea or anti-tick treatments. “This report allows a clear understanding of the ubiquitous exposure to endocrine disrupting insecticides. Its ultimate aim is to create awareness among our politicians of the urgency of preventative action in this area,” says Francois Veillerette of Générations Future.

The report, and others that will follow, are to be presented to the committee working on the future national strategy on endocrine disruptors in France, and to various relevant ministers. “The objective is to protect the health of children yet to be born by ensuring that in the future no human body or animal organism contains endocrine disrupting chemicals,” Veillerette concludes.

The launch event in Paris this year provided the disappointing news that pesticide use had actually increased by 2.5% in France 2011. However, the announcement that Pesticides Action Week is now supported by the national beekeeping union and the association of mayors in France (l’Union nationale de l’apiculture française ou encore l’Association des maires de France) was strongly welcomed. (3)

During the week, more good news came with the victorious outcome of the court case of French cereal farmer, Dominique Marchal. For the first time, the French authorities have been asked to compensate a farmer because he developed a cancer associated with his exposure to chemical substances contained in pesticides. (4)

To reflect the extent of grassroots activity in France, the Pesticides Action Week website features a map with flags where “pesticide free areas” exist in different parts of the country. Anyone involved in the creation of pesticide free sites can upload a photo onto the website here. (5)

BELGIUM: Belgian regional authorities in collaboration with NGOs launched a photo-and-map participation of pesticide-free areas in Belgium. Over 120 events to promote alternatives for non agricultural uses were planned, including conferences, workshops and talks, such as on how to garden without using pesticides. (6)

SPAIN: Last year, HEAL member, Vivo Sano helped launch a major initiative in Spain bringing together a dedicated website and resources on “Semana sin pesticidas” in Spanish and English. (7) For its participation in Pesticides Action Week this year, Vivo Sano has released a documentary called “In Small-Print”, which shows how our health may be affected by endocrine disrupting chemicals, where you can find them and how you can reduce your exposure to them (in Spanish and English). (8)

Organisations in Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Slovenia, and Turkey are also planning to take part during the week.

Since 2008, PAN Africa has helped organise events in conjunction with the ASOL network. This year, activities are planned in Benin, Burkino Faso, Congo, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Togo, and Uganda.

ENDS

Notes 1. Link to video – Ban on endocrine disrupting pesticides in Europe via PAN Europe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwUJGYklpKQ&feature=player_embedded or via HEAL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQzZ2Xp_Kjk&list=UUBA5kbMFnjYyRpfXg6ed-wg&index=1 2. Press release - Which endocrine disrupting insecticides are children exposed to everyday? Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, Part 1 of a report series (EXposition aux Pesticides PERTurbateurs endocriniens, EXPPERT enquiry 1), Generations Futures, http://www.env-health.org/resources/press-releases/article/which-endocrine-disrupting 3. Launch event, 18 March 2013, http://www.semaine-sans-pesticides.fr/non-classe/la-france-est-toujours-aussi-accro-aux-pesticides/ Main website: http://www.semaine-sans-pesticides.fr/ 4. Victoire juridique sans précédent pour un agriculteur malade des pesticides… et autres informations 5. Créons ensemble une carte de France des zones sans pesticides ! 6. Activities in Belgium at www.semainesanspesticides.be 7. Activities in Spain and video link at Semana sin pesticidas 8. In small-print documentary from Vivo Sano is available at http://www.vivosano.org/es_ES/Proyectos/InternationalProjects/DocumentaryInSmallPrint.aspx

More information from info@env-health.org

HEAL is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union. With the support of its more than 65 member organizations, which represent health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, patients, citizens, women, youth, and environmental experts, HEAL brings independent expertise and evidence from the health community to different decision-making processes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations as well as national and local groups. Website: www.env-health.org

PAN Europe is a network of NGO campaign organisations working to minimise negative effects and replace the use of hazardous chemicals with ecologically sound alternatives. Our network brings together consumer, public health, and environmental organisations, trades unions, women’s groups and farmer associations from across 19 European countries. We work to eliminate dependency on chemical pesticides and to support safe sustainable pest control methods. Website: www.pan-europe.info

Last updated on 2 April 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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