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HEAL News - May & June 2010

Environment and Health Policy

Environment & Health policy update - May & June 2010

On 6th May, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the EU Partnership for Action against Cancer. The MEPs’ vote highlights the need to pay attention to the growing body of science that shows chemical pollution in our environment and work settings contributes to Europe’s high rates of cancer. More information Meanwhile in the US, environmental factors on cancer risk were also debated with the release of a report by the US President’s Cancer Panel. The panel was particularly (...)

Health and environment professionals gather at the EU Open Health Forum

From the 29th to 30th June 2010, health professionals, patient organisations, NGOs and policy makers gathered in Brussels for the EU Open Health Forum. The annual Forum, aims to involve key health stakeholders in European health policy by providing a platform for knowledge-sharing. The theme for the fourth Open Health Forum conference was "Together for Health – a Strategy for the EU 2020". During the conference, HEAL and member organisation the European Federation of Allergy and Airway (...)

Sixty-third World Health Assembly closes after passing multiple resolutions

The 63rd session of the annual World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 - 21 May 2010. The Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO, and is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States The delegates at the World Health Assembly adopted resolutions on a number of global health issues. Among the resolutions were two on the improvement of health through safe and environmentally sound waste management, and the (...)

About us & our members

European Child Safety Alliance (ECSA) Awarded Scholarship

HEAL member, The European Child Safety Alliance (ECHA), has been awarded a scholarship for 20,000 pounds, by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to develop child injury prevention impact statements based on quantitative evidence. By examining available national data and comparing injury rates to safety legislation in effect in those countries (for example, legislation regarding bicycle helmet use or fire alarms), the Alliance will develop statements which can be used to (...)

HEAL Secretariat News - May & June 2010

In May we welcomed Antonin Acquarone to the team as our Climate Change Research and Policy Assistant. Antonin, who will be working with Pendo Maro, HEAL’s Climate and Energy Advisor. The 6 month internship with HEAL is part of his Master’s degree in European Law at the University of Toulouse I Capitole. Antonin also holds a Master’s degree with honors in September 2008 from the University of Montpellier II in Engineering in Ecology and Biodiversity Management. His knowledge (...)

Health community call on governments to acknowledge environmental causation of chronic illnesses

In April, health professionals met to discuss the latest science and policy developments on the increasing prevalence of chronic multisystem illnesses. The conference was hosted be HEAL member organisation, the European Academy for Environmental Medicine (EUROPAEM) and was held in Wuerzburg, German, April 23 to April 25, 2010. The well attended event saw renowned national and international scientists and health care professionals and patient groups share knowledge on the growing (...)

NGO disappointed as French government report ignores recommendations on the dangers of pesticides

On the 28th April the French Parliamentary office for the evaluation of the scientific and technological choices (OPECST) released their final report on “Pesticides and health”. HEAL members Mouvement pour le droit et le respect des générations futures (MDRGF) and RES – Réseau Environnement Sante have both voiced disappointment in what they believe to be, a weak report that fails to acknowledge new science on the treats to health and the environment from pesticides. The disappointment of (...)

PAN Europe launch guide to sustainable pesticide use

HEAL member, the Pesticides Action Network Europe (PAN Europe), have published a guide for the sustainable use of pesticides to support EU member states in the production of their National Action Plans (NAP) - as required under the Sustainable Use Directive. As yet, several countries have come up with promising initiatives for reducing pesticide dependency, though none have yet delivered a complete National Action Plan. All EU member states must be proactive in making change happen. (...)

Mercury and health

Campaigning for a mercury free world

This summer an international project has been launched aimed to raise awareness of the health risks of mercury exposure and calling on decision maker to create a strong global mercury treaty. The campaign, “MERCURY-FREE,” is coordinated by the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), of which HEAL is a member. The campaign is supported by a further nine international NGOs. The aims of Mercury Free are three-fold, to; raise awareness about mercury exposure and safer alternatives; (...)

International mercury negotiations begin in Stockholm

From June 7-11, 2010, International Governments met in Stockholm, Sweden to begin negotiations for a global, legally-binding method to limit mercury usage. This marked the beginning of 3 years of negotiations for a UN treaty - due to be adopted in 2013. Civil society was represented by approximately 55 NGOs from 29 countries which included IPEN member, health sector and anti-dental amalgam groups, and Indigenous Peoples’ organisations. The Conference took decisions on rules of (...)

Mercury policy update - May & June 2010

The 1st International Negotiating Conference for a global mercury treaty took place in Stockholm on June 7 – 11, and marks the beginning of 3 years of negotiations for a UN treaty to limit mercury uses. (The Convention is due to be adopted in 2013). NGOs conducted two awareness raising actions during the conference. Read more…. The World Health Organisation stated at the Stockholm meeting that the production of skin lightening cosmetics containing mercury should stop, and expressed an (...)


Chemicals policy update - May & June 2010

REACH: There are quite a few developments concerning the chemicals on the ‘most harmful’ Candidate List of the new European chemicals legislation. • 8 new chemicals adopted by the Member State Committee in May as ‘Substances of very high concern’ - ECHA soon to officially add them to the List. • 8 existing Candidates, including the phthalate DIBP, proposed by ECHA for the Priority List – this would subject those chemicals to the authorisation process. These proposals will be put up to a (...)

HEAL supports call for reducing exposure to BPA

On 23rd June 2010, HEAL added its name to a letter to European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) calling for a reduction in human exposure to the synthetic chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA). The signatories, which include professors and scientists from US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and UK and more than 40 international and national health groups, welcome the fact that the current review is taking into account a large number of studies in its opinion on BPA due to be published in (...)

MEPs urge cancer prevention deal with environmental causes

In May we saw the adoption by European parliamentarians (MEPs) of a resolution that recognises the important role of environmental factors in cancer prevention. On the 6th May 2010, the European Parliament adopted a report on the European Commission’s proposal to create a European Partnership for Action Against Cancer for the period 2009-2013 – supporting EU Member States’ efforts to tackle cancer. The resolution distinguishes between primary prevention and early detection/screening, and (...)


European Parliament Committee strengthens draft biocides law, but concerns remain

On the 23 June, the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) voted on some 500 amendments to the Commission’s European Commission’s proposal for a revised EU biocides law. The vote was welcomed by health and environment groups, yet problems remain. NGO were pleased to see the following developments: Special vulnerability of children and pregnant women to the harmful effects of biocides - something that was absent from the original Commission (...)

Pesticides & biocides policy update - May & June 2010

On 22nd June, the European Parliament’s Environment (ENVI) Committee voted on its report on the EU Commission’s proposal to revise the current EU Biocides law. Over 500 amendments had been tabled on crucial issues such as the phase out of hazardous biocides and exemptions, EU centralized authorization and nano-biocides. The EP plenary vote is scheduled for September. Read more… HEAL’s ACTION ON PESTICIDES AND BIOCIDES In May and June, as part of the NGO coalition, HEAL sent letters and met (...)

Climate Change

Climate change policy update - May & June 2010

On 26th May the European Commission formally adopted a new Communication that analyses the economic and policy implications of an EU move to 30% emission reductions target. Read more here From 31st may – 11th June the UNFCCC international climate change talks took place in Bonn (Bonn II). On 11th June the Environment Council met to discuss the Commission’s 30% Communication. The Council Conclusions took note of the Communication, but directed further discussion on the Communication to (...)

Commission proposes new EU climate policy

The European Commission has released a communication that analyses the economic and policy implications of the EU increasing its greenhouse gas emission reduction target to 30% (compared to those of 1990) instead of the current 20%. The Communication, released by the newly formed Directorate General Climate Action under Commissioner Hedegaard, demonstrates the economic feasibility of reducing the EU’s CO2 emissions from 20% to 30%. Whilst the initial financial investment required will be (...)

Air Quality

Air quality policy update - May & June 2010

11 EU member states are expected to miss one or more of the legal limits set by the National Emission Ceilings Directive NEC in 2010, according to the European Environment Agency. Meeting the emission ceiling for Nitrogen Oxides NOx, as one of the four pollutants for which NEC sets limits, has been the most difficult one for the countries. The European Commission is pursuing legal action against Italy for failing to comply with EU air quality PM 10 standards. The Commission has sent (...)

ESCAPE air pollution research plans launch of results

A plenary meeting of the EU-funding ESCAPE (European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects) research project, 14-16 June 2010 in Utrecht included further discussions on the timing of releasing findings. The main results will be available in 2012 as originally envisaged but some first results may be presented in September 2011 at the ISEE (International Society for Environmental Epidemiology) meeting in Barcelona. The research will provide new assessments of the risks for health of (...)

Europe on track to exceed air pollutant emission limits

In 2010, almost half of the European Union’s Member States will exceed the legal limits of air pollutants. New research from the European Environment Agency (EEA) states that 11 countries expect to exceed their emissions ceilings by significant amounts — some missing Nitrogen oxide (NOx )targets by more than 40 %. Of the four pollutants covered by the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC) Directive, EU Member States have the greatest difficulty meeting the emission limits for nitrogen (...)

Last updated on 8 June 2011

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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