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HEAL Newsflash - January 2011

Health and environmental groups ask Commission to revise air quality laws on health grounds

HEAL and other environmental groups have called on the European Commission to immediately revise the National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive. HEAL, alongside the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and Transport and Environment (T&E) wrote a letter to EU President Barroso and the EU Commissioners explaining that an immediate revision of the NEC directive should not be seen as a burden on Europe’s economy but rather as an opportunity to put Europe on a recovery path that will improve the health of its citizens and their environment as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Read more....

Renewed hope for the EU’s environment and health action plan (EHAP)

As 2010 came to a close, so too did the EU’s first Environment and Health Action Plan (EHAP 2004 – 2010), an instrument that has added immense value in ensuring more targeted research on environmental impacts and health outcomes, and helped raise awareness on the environment’s critical role in promoting people’s health . A further push for renewing the action plan came on the 20th December, when EU environment ministers called on the EU Commission to further promote health through environment policy and draw up a second EHAP as soon as possible. Read more…

Indoor Air Quality: publication of WHO guidelines

HEAL has welcomed the recently published indoor air quality guidelines on chemicals by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an important step towards a harmonised framework on indoor air quality within the European Union. Indoor air quality is a particular concern for many of HEAL members, such as allergy and asthma patients’ organisations, and for groups working to protect the health of vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly who are more susceptible to harmful indoor environments. As the race towards energy efficient buildings across the EU increases, reducing indoor air pollution will become more important than ever. HEAL hopes that the new guidelines will prompt further consideration of an overall EU strategy on indoor air pollution. Read More...

HEAL reaction on the Council agreement on biocides

In December 2010, the EU Environment Ministers agreed on their position for a new authorisation system for household pesticides and other biocides – a decision which if confirmed in second reading in Autumn would allow many hazardous biocides to remain on the European market and may increase the overall sales of biocides. HEAL and other environment and health groups have sharply criticised the EU environment ministers’ agreement stating that it will not help to reduce the dependency on biocidal products and thus not ensure the highest level of protection to health and environment. The agreement is a step backwards from the European Parliament’s call for the promotion of alternatives and from EU chemical laws like REACH and pesticides legislation. Read more...


During the past two months, HEAL has featured extensively in the media across the EU. For example on our Toxic’s policy officer Lisette van Vliet was interviewed on French television for HEAL’s work on Bisphenol-A (BPA) and early puberty, and again on Slovenian television for the new (Toxic menus campaign.). The latter, was also covered in the Guardian newspaper in the UK , thanks to the translation of an article about toxics in children’s menus originally published in Le Monde, France. HEAL’s biocides work was picked up in a long feature about environment contaminants on, German radio whilst our [air quality>] work and our continued call for a renewed National Emissions Ceiling directive was covered in the in Brussels-based European Voice and ENDS daily.


Joint call for tap water temperature limits to reduce the number of severe scalds to children

Hot bath water is the most common cause of severe scalds to young children in Europe. HEAL member, The European Child Safety Alliance (ECSA) has released a position statement and backgrounder on the danger of tap water scalds. The statement is supported by several European and international organisations, including HEAL, as well as national ECSA partners from over 20 European countries. Read more...

French supermarket removes toxic chemical, Bisphenol A, from sales receipts

Le Réseau Environnement Santé (RES), HEAL member, has welcomed the recent decision of the French supermarket, Carrefour, to remove the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from their sales receipts.

Currently there are over 1600 branches of Carrefour due to remove BPA from receipts. Carrefour follows the lead of the French cooperative Système U. This move is well ahead of any national policy to reduce exposure to BPA. RES calls on the retail sector to follow the lead of Carrefour and Système U. Read more..

One Health Congress: Human Health, Animal Health, the Environment and Global Survival

HEAL member, the Clinical Microbiology Uppsala University Hospital, will present at the 1st International One Health Congress: Human Health, Animal Health, the Environment and Global Survival, in Melbourne 14-16 February. The conference will see the launch of a new Open Access Journal on zoonoses, infectious diseases that can be transmitted from non-human animals, both wild and domestic, to humans or from humans to non-human animals. Read more...


Report from the Cancun Climate Change Talks: NGOs Promote Health and Partner for Future Action, 10 February

A number of NGOs and health and medical groups can attest that the United Nation’s Climate Change talks in Cancun were good for human health. HEAL’s US partner organisation, the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) will be holding a teleconference to share how the momentum from Copenhagen to Cancun is being carried forward into 2011 towards collaborative activities promoting health in the run up to COP17 in Durban, South Africa and beyond. HEAL’s Climate and Energy Policy Advisor, Pendo Maro will be on the panel of the conference, alongside Lynn Wilson (SeaTrust Institute) and Pastor Peters Omoragbon (Nurses Across the Borders). The call will take place on February 10, 2011 at 10 a.m. Pacific / 1 p.m. Eastern, read more..

Final Aphekom meeting on air quality and health, 2 March 2011

The final meeting of the Aphekom air quality and health project will meet on the 2nd March 2011 in Paris, France. The first session will see project leaders present key findings from Aphekom’s nearly three years of work on the impact of air pollution on health in Europe. During the second session attendees will have the opportunity to put questions to Aphekom’s scientists and discuss issues on urban air pollution in Europe.

The Aphekom project develops and delivers information and tools on the impacts of air pollution on human health for decision makers, health professionals and individuals so that they can make better-informed decisions. Read more..

International Conference on Environmental and Occupational Determinants of Cancer: Interventions for Primary Prevention, 17-18 March

HEAL’s Toxic Policy Advisor, Lisette van Vliet will be participating in a round table discussion during the World Health Organization’s first international conference on the primary prevention of cancer through environmental and occupational interventions. The Conference will take place on 17-18 March in Asturias, Spain. Read more…

3rd Paris Appeal, 12 - 13 April 2011 – registration now open

The third Congress of the Paris Appeal, an international declaration on the health dangers of chemical pollution, will focus on Children’s health and the environment. The Congress will bring together several of the best international specialists and will review the latest scientific breakthroughs in the field. The congress is organised by HEAL member the Association for Research and Treatments Against Cancer (ARTAC), in partnership with HEAL and the International Society of Doctors for the Environment, and will be held in Paris on the 12 - 13 April 2011, followed by a three-day academic course in Environmental Medicine, 14 – 15 - 16 April 2011. Registration for both is now open.

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 »


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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