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HEAL Newsflash - October 2012

HEAL’s 2012 Annual General Assembly a success!

HEAL members elected a new HEAL President and Executive Committee at the Annual General Assembly (AGA) in Brussels on 13-14 September. They also adopted a work programme, agreed the accounts, welcomed new members, and discovered about two new tools to help bring science to policy makers in workshops on air quality and chronic diseases Learn more...

Societal benefits called for in EU agricultural policy

HEAL believes that health and the environment should be greater priorities of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). With negotiations on the EU’s next budget (MFF) high on the political agenda, the Green 10 in which HEAL is a member sent a letter to EU ministers of Finance, European Affairs, and Agriculture to urge them to ensure that no decision on the overall allocations to the CAP, under the MFF, would be taken before a decision was made on what the CAP budget will deliver. It also recommends safeguarding those parts of the CAP budget that clearly demonstrate benefits to society and European taxpayers. Learn more ...

NGOs highlight benefits of stringent noise standards

HEAL, T&E, EEB together with Eurocities, the network of major European cities - have called on EU Member States to reject attempts to further weaken the proposal on new EU vehicle noise limits. Ahead of a Competitiveness Council working group meeting, the joint letter highlighted the benefits to public health and national budgets of stringent noise standards. Learn more ...

Alarm created by EFSA announcement on EDCs

HEAL and 19 other NGOs have written to the European Commissioners for Health and Environment about the request from DG SANCO to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for a scientific opinion on identifying endocrine disruptors. The NGOs point out that DG Environment has led the process to formulate such criteria for over a year. They are concerned about duplication of efforts, provide a reminder on concerns about the reliability and impartiality of prior EFSA work on endocrine disruptors, and ask how the EFSA opinion will be compatible with the need for horizontal criteria that will cover all legislation. Read more …

HEAL Policy Workshop on Chronic Diseases and Endocrine Disruptors (EDCs)

HEAL held a policy workshop on chronic diseases and endocrine disruptors (EDCs) on 14 September in conjunction with HEAL’s Annual General Assembly. The morning workshop featured external speakers and presentations of case studies from HEAL’s own member organisations. Learn more ...

Global consensus achieved on EDCs

HEAL welcomed the global community’s resolution recognising the likely adverse effects of endocrine disruptors on human health at the recent SAICM meeting. The risks posed by endocrine disruptors were recognised as an emerging global issue at the Third International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM3) paving the way for greater international cooperation and more information to address health and environmental risks linked to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). HEAL believes this resolution will mean greater cooperative efforts among health-affected groups to address common origins of disease, promote effective policy, and reduce exposure to EDCs. Read more …

Study on GMOs strongly suggests need for reform

A French study reveals important shortcomings in our food safety system which could have adverse effects on human health. The study revealed that rats fed on genetically-modified maize and exposed to a common herbicide associated with maize production developed tumours faster and died earlier than rats fed on a standard diet. Given these new findings, testing methods of genetically-modified food should be reconsidered and similar studies should further investigate these results. Read more …

UK reports the health impacts from climate change

The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) has published a special report on the health impacts of climate change in the United Kingdom. It features new climate projections and estimates health impacts from a changing climate due to heat waves, air pollution, floods, water and insect-borne diseases. For heat waves alone the death toll could multiply by six by the end of the century. Read more …

BMA launches flagship report on healthy transport

In a key report launched this summer entitled Healthy transport = Healthy lives, the British Medical Association (BMA) makes a case for improved transport systems that benefit health and contribute to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. HEAL greets the report as further evidence for decision makers to integrate health in transport policy decisions. Read more …

HEAL Policy Workshop on Air Quality

At least half a million people die every year in the European Union due to air pollution. Higher rates of chronic cardiovascular and respiratory disease create economic costs as well as individual suffering. A HEAL policy workshop on air quality featured upcoming policy developments, new scientific evidence from recent research projects, a real time monitoring of air pollution in Brussels and best practice examples from public campaigns targeting air pollution in cities. Read more …

EEA shows city population at highest risk

The new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on the air quality situation in Europe in 2012 confirms that many parts of Europe still have persistent problems with particulate matter (PM) and ozone concentration levels. The situation is especially worrying for those living in cities where almost a third of the population is exposed to levels above EU air quality standards. When compared to stricter WHO air quality guidelines, almost every European living in a city is exposed to concentrations harmful to health. Read more ...

How is indoor air quality in your school?

The EU funded SINPHONIE project will soon launch results on the indoor air quality situation in schools and health effects on children. In this first ever European wide monitoring, 40 participating scientists carried out fieldwork in 118 schools in 24 countries, involving around 350 classrooms with 8000 students. HEAL is a member of the SINPHONIE advisory board and participated in the final meeting in Hungary. Read more …

Tuna presents health risk in school lunches

A US study investigated mercury levels in canned tuna used in school cafeterias. Despite recognised public-health concerns about mercury exposure and awareness of children’s developmental vulnerability, canned tuna remains the largest source of methyl mercury in the US diet. It contributes to 32% of the total and is a major source of mercury exposure for children. This is also the case in many European countries, with some countries consuming even more tuna than in the US. Read more …

New study associates mercury exposure to attention deficit disorder

A new study of Inuits living in Arctic Canada, is the first to find an association between mercury and symptoms of attention deficits in children. It is also the first to replicate previously reported associations between low-level childhood lead exposure and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in a population exposed to lead primarily from dietary sources. These findings highlight the importance of reducing exposures. Read more …

Members’ news

Publications

HEAL Annual Review 2011

The review of HEAL’s policy and communication achievements for 2011 is now available. The review covers the six main policy areas environment & health, children’s health, chemicals, pesticides/biocides, air quality and climate change amongst others. Read more...

New IPEN Brochure: Working Together for a Toxics-Free Future

The International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), a global network of more than 700 public interest non-governmental organizations all working together for the elimination of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and other persistent toxic substances has just released a new brochure. It shows IPEN’s success in elevating local concerns on chemical safety to global policy arenas, advancing a global toxics-free future movement, reducing exposure to harmful chemicals and eliminating serious threats.

Download the brochure here.

Events

  • 9-11 October -’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands : Sustainable development: This is your chance
  • 22-25 October – Larnaca, Cyprus: Human Biomonitoring (HBM): Linking environment to health and supporting policy
  • 25 October - Uppsala, Sweden: Infectious disease in a changing world How does it effect everyday life
  • 26 October – Brussels, Belgium: ECERI meeting Environmental Carcinogenesis
  • 12-15 November – Bolinas, USA: Training on reproductive health and environmental health sciences
  • 23 November – Anderlecht, Belgium: First day of « Environmental Health » of the ULB
  • 23 November – Uppsala, Sweden: Joint Battle against Infectious Disease and Antibiotic Resistance
  • 5-6 December – Paris, France: Third national congress of the French Society for environmental health
  • 10-11 December – Paris, France: International conference on recent advances on the environmental and health effects of endocrine disrupters->http://www.env-health.org/resources...]

Take action

  • ECHA launches a public consultation on 54 potential Substances of Very High Concern
  • Scientific Committees: open call for experts in nanotechnology
  • Capture the invisible for the EEA photo story competition
  • Have your say on the future of EU noise policies as a citizen, organisation or public authority ->http://www.env-health.org/news/late...]

Media coverage

HEAL’s Lisette van Vliet was quoted in Le Monde, France on 2 October 2012 over the worrying development in the EU EDC process. EFSA has been asked to give an opinion in a process that has been the responsibility of DG Environment until now. An article in Chemical Watch referred to the NGO letter signed by HEAL which expresses grave disquiet at EFSA involvement.

HEAL is quoted in a review of the UK Health Protection Agency’s recent report on the health effects of climate change. The article was published on the tcktcktck, the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA) website. Climate change to increase health risks in the UK: Report, 20 September 2012.

Anne Stauffer, HEAL was quoted in Euroactiv’s article “Lawmakers urged to back tough clean air package”, 27 September 2012.

HEAL’s recent seminar on chronic disease and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) was featured in Chemical Watch on 18 September 2012 in an article entitled “Environmental health experts highlight link between EDCs and chronic disease”.

Swiss TV documentary, “Citizens against cancer” (2011) which features interviews with Genon Jensen and Lisette van Vliet, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) at the 3rd Paris Appeal conference, was shown on the German/Swiss/Austrian channel "3Sat" on 18 September 2012. It had previously been transmitted on French language Swiss television and on Flemish language television.

Last updated on 12 December 2012

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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