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HEAL Newsflash - December 2010

Medical professionals push health into global climate talks

HEAL headed a delegation of high-level medical professionals at the United Nation climate negotiations in Cancun in December to help bring the voice of the health community to the proceedings. Our delegation sought to highlight that reducing greenhouse gasses is good for the climate, national economies and peoples’ health. Climate change threatens the basic elements of life such as access to food, water, shelter and clean air - which in turn severely impacts human health. The good news is that action to mitigate climate change can improve public health: an important message for negotiators in Cancun. Read more…

Groups continue to push for a second environment and health action plan

Health and environment groups attended the November launch of the European Environment Agency’s State of the Environment Report (SOE), the environmental analysis of the European Union updated every five years, in the European Parliament. HEAL welcomed the inclusion in the 2010 report of a chapter on environment and health, and particularly the mention of the dangers to health caused by exposure to combinations of chemicals, or “chemical cocktails”. Read more...

Cancer and Environment week – November 2010

In November, HEAL hosted a series of events to raise awareness of the links between cancer causation and involuntary exposure to toxic chemicals in our everyday environments. The Cancer and Environment week included a policy discussion in the European Parliament, a public film screening, an NGO workshop on pesticides and health and the launch of a French cancer and environment awareness campaign. Read more...

European film premiere of Living Downstream

HEAL hosted the European premiere of the groundbreaking film on cancer and environmental causation, Living Downstream. Sandra Steingraber joined us again to introduce the film, which is based on her acclaimed book of the same name, and to host a discussion session after the screening. Read more...

Reducing pesticide use across Europe for better health

Health and environment groups from throughout the European Union gathered in Brussels to discuss strategies for pesticides reduction. The workshop, hosted by HEAL and Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) formed the first meeting of HEAL’s Sick of Pesticides network which will act as a platform to exchange information on the setting up of pesticide-free areas and to establish the next steps as countries prepare National Action Pplans for pesticide reduction. The meeting particularly focused on the core campaign countries of the UK, France, Belgium, Hungary and the Netherlands. Read more...

"Toxic menu" launches cancer and environment campaign in France

Générations Futures (formerly MDRGF) and HEAL revealed results of tests on typical meals in France to launch the "Environnement et Cancer" campaign on 1 December 2010. Between July and September 2010, non-organic food items making up the typical daily intake of a 10 year-old were bought in various supermarkets and tested for chemical residues. Analysis of the "Menus Toxiques" showed the make-up of chemical substances in our daily diet. The findings showed 128 trace elements representing 81 different chemical substances. These substances included 36 different pesticides and 47 suspected carcinogens. Read more...

European Commission bans the use of bisphenol A in plastic baby bottles

In November the European Commission banned the use of organic compound bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic baby bottles, the ban will come into place from March 2011. "Iit is a step in the right direction," says Lisette van Vliet, Toxics Policy Advisor at HEAL. Read more...

More guidance for countries on EU pesticide legislation needed

EU Health and Consumer Affair’s Commissioner John Dalli has been asked to encourage faster, stronger implementation of pesticides policy in an open letter from HEAL and our partner organisation, Pesticides Action Network Europe. As a result of recent EU legislation, Member States are asked to reduce pesticide use to protect health and the environment. But groups are concerned that deadlines related to National Action Plans on the sustainable use of pesticides scheduled for 14 December 2011 and 2012 will not be met. Read more…

HEAL IN THE MEDIA

It has been a very productive few months for HEAL, and as a result we have received fantastic media coverage across all policy areas. Notably, coverage achieved a significant boost with the visit of Sandra Steingraber to Brussels to speak about how environmental policy can help reduce chronic disease, including cancer.. Thanks to our involvement in a "Pesticides and Cancer" joint project of food testing with Generations Future, conference, Paris, 1 December 2010, we achieved a high profile in France. The very large press coverage included an excellent article in the medical weekly: ’Le quotidien du Médecin’, a review for medical doctors and other health professionals and another by APM (Agence Presse Medicale) news, which perfectly understood our demands for a better cancer environmental prevention policy (see below). For our chemicals work, media coverage was dominated by the led up and the announcement by the European Commission that it was banning BPA in baby bottles from 2011. The story was covered in European Voice, EuroNews television website, Chemicals Watch, Euractiv, ENDS Daily and EU Observer and also in top dailies in France, UK, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. On climate, Health Day at the UNFCCC negotiations in Cancun and the findings of HEAL/HCWHE report featured strongly in discussions on Climate TV, in blogs, and in an article in ECO newsletter, published by NGO environmental groups at major international conferences. A new push to promote the report in Central and Eastern European countries led to extensive coverage in Hungary and a major article in Capital, a leading weekly in Bulgaria.

EVENTS ON THE HORIZON

12 - 13 April 2011 - Paris Appeal Third International Congress: Children’s health and the environment. Followed by a two-day international academic intensive course of Environmental Medicine, 14 - 15 April 2011, at UNESCO, 7 place de Fontenoy 75007 PARIS. Under the high patronage of WHO, Organised by ARTAC in partnership with ISDE and HEAL. For more information, please visit: www.artac.info

Last updated on 7 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 »

Members

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
E-mail: info@env-health.org
Press: Diana Smith

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