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HEAL Newsflash - Summer 2011


Climate change: Missed opportunities to increase the EU’s commitment

Environment and health groups have been left disappointed by failure of EU member states and the European Parliament (EP) to support a move beyond a 20% EU GHG emissions reduction target to start reaping the health benefits for Europeans.

Prior to all votes, HEAL and its members and medical professionals in many EU countries wrote letters to the Environment Ministers and MEPs urging them to vote in support of an unconditional move to 30% less greenhouse gases by 2020. The letters highlighted the radical improvements to public health and saving to healthcare budgets from a 30% emissions reduction target. HEAL used the findings from our 2010 report, "Acting Now for Better Health: a 30% reduction target for EU climate policy", have been used by many policy makers. Learn more...

UNFCCC Climate Change negotiations: doctors highlight health implications

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) was represented by Professor Hugh Montgomery, co-founder of the UK Climate & Health Council, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) UN Climate Change Conference held this June in Bonn, Germany. Of the conclusions made on the global climate change talks, Hugh wrote in his blog “It is absolutely clear that many delegates have somehow forgotten the urgency they profess to feel." Learn more...

Groups call for public research to benefit society, not big business

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) has joined other public interest groups calling for social, political, economic and environmental issues to be properly addressed in future EU research and innovation (R&I) funding, following the European Commission Green Paper “Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding”. An Open Letter has been sent to the European Commission, European Parliament and national governments, supported by many of HEAL’s members and partners. Learn more...

Emerging public debate on health and environment impacts of fracking

In Europe, the public debate on fracturing shale gas and oil is finally gaining momentum, following the many concerns voiced from the health and environment community about the implications of this new technology. A highly influential member of the European Parliament, MEP Jo Leinen, has just proposed to introduce an EU law on energy quality to weigh the environmental impact of how the fuel is obtained, e.g. oil from tar sands or shale gas. The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is very pleased to hear of this proposal to tackle shale gas and oil fracturing. HEAL has been one of the first organisations to flag up the multi-faceted health & environment problems of fracturing in Europe, because of the concerns on its impact on air and water quality and the toxic chemicals involved, as well as the climate change implications. Learn more...

EU runs public consultation on Toxicity and Assessment of Chemical Mixtures

HEAL will be responding to the EU public consultation on the preliminary opinion concerning Toxicity and Assessment of Chemical Mixtures, and encourages CHE science partners to widely disseminate this opportunity to provide input into how the EU will ensure that its chemicals’ legislation takes proper account of the latest scientific information on mixture toxicity. The deadline to submit comments is 9 September 2011. Learn more...

Health insurance group takes up environmental health

The International Association of Mutual Benefit Societies (AIM) represents an important voice in discussions on the social economy and universal access to health care, including access to health information. In a strategic partnership AIM will now be working with HEAL to improve prevention of chronic diseases caused, or facilitated, by environmental factors. This stems from their commitment to promoting the understanding and prevention of environmental effects on public health and to facilitating mutual benefit groups’ participation in policies concerning environmental health. Learn more...

Indoor air pollution and health in Europe remains on the agenda

HEAL is one of the stakeholder representatives in the European Commission Directorate General for Health and Consumer Policy (DG SANCO) led indoor air quality expert group. The group shares best practice and information on indoor air quality and advises and provides opinion on policy actions to reduce indoor air pollution.

Many HEAL members and other organisations are currently involved in the SINPHONIE project on indoor pollution and health impacts in schools. Over the next months, 36 institutions from 25 countries will carry out measuring and health assessment in schools with a view to defining recommendations on how to reduce pollution in the school environment. As a member of SINPHONIE’s advisory committee, HEAL will provide guidance on how to best integrate these scientific findings into EU policy. Learn more...


HEAL’s new partnership with the International Association of Mutual Benefit Societies (AIM) was featured in Chemical Watch and an interview with HEAL’s Deputy Director, Anne Stauffer, on indoor air quality appeared in Health Forum titled Un esprit sain dans une maison saine (on page 16), a magazine by the Belgian mutual insurance benefits society. View interview here.

HEAL was also prominently featured in an highlight on air quality in the Public Services Review: European Science & Technology - Issue 11 titled Cleaning the air (see page 334). Our Executive Director, Genon Jensen and Deputy Director, Anne Stauffer, were quoted saying “The EU’s upcoming review of air quality offers an opportunity to save lives and money.” HEAL and others in the health community in Europe intend to make sure that full use is made of existing studies to prompt early, ambitious legislative proposals are made on air pollution.

See additional HEAL coverage here.


Health impacts of nanotechnology: opportunities and risks

On 7 and 8 May HEAL member EUROPAEM, the European Academy for Environmental Medicine held its international congress on health impacts of nanotechnology – opportunities and risks. Over 80 participants gathered – environmental health practioners, patients and experts to hear a wide range of presentations including the President of the German government’s nano commission, the WHO assessment of nanotechnology and researchers working on using nanotechnology in medicinal diagnosis and treatment. Learn more...

Policy Debate: public health and the Common Agricultural Policy

On June 16th 2011, European Public Health and Agriculture Consortium (EPHAC), with support from HEAL member European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), held a policy debate on the role of public health in the Common Agricultural Policy. The event was held in the European Parliament and hosted by Oana Elena Antonescu MEP, with participation of EU Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos, EU Commissioner for Health John Dalli, and WHO Regional Director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab. Learn more...

Mediator: Discussing the assessment and control of medicines in France

André Cicolella of Réseau Environnement Santé (RES) and a member of HEAL’s executive committee took part in a discussion on the assessment and control of medicines with the French Committee on Social Affairs and Joint Mission for Mediator Information. Learn more...

Stop + go: Phase out nuclear, promote renewables

The platform and petition in support of renewable energy that HEAL member Inter Environnement Wallonie has started, together with Greenpeace Belgium, Bond Beter Leefmilieu and WWF Belgium has received overwhelming support from organizations and individuals. With Stop+go, organizations and individuals can easily voice their support for the call to enforce Belgian law and close down the three oldest reactors by 2015. Learn more...

French Parliament calls for urgent evaluation of aspartame

Le quotidian du medecin recently highlighted that 3 MPs are calling for the immediate re-evaluation of aspartame. Two HEAL members, Réseau environnement santé (RES) and Générations futures, along with these MPs have organised a joint press conference with French National Assembly members to highlight their concerns over how aspartame is regulated. Learn more...

WECF France publish guide for expectant mothers

Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) in France have just published a new guide (in French) on health, cosmetics, pregancy and hazardous substances. It explains how how to choose cosmetics in terms of which ones are suitable for a pregnant woman that won’t harm the health of her child. Download the guide at Learn more...


Plenary meeting of European Study of Cohorts for Air Pollution Effects – ESCAPE (12-13 Sept 2011 – Barcelona, Spain)

HEAL is on the advisory board of this EU funded project. The ESCAPE meeting will precede the ISEE conference (detailed below). Agenda to be provided soon. Registration info at

23rd Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology - ISEE (13-16 Sept 2011 – Barcelona, Spain)

Specific themes to be discussed in the conference include Sustainable transport and health: impact of transport on health and approaches to reduce health impacts, Impact of climate change: from water scarcity to Saharan dust episodes, Early exposure - later life: in utero and early life exposures and effects in later life, and New methods and technologies. HEAL will be participating in a symposium on cancer and chemicals. See conference website at

The Health and Security Perspectives of Climate Change - How to secure our future wellbeing (17 Oct 2011 - London, UK)

This conference will bring together high level climate, health and security specialists to discuss joined up strategies and policies for addressing this threat in the run up to the Durban Climate negotiations in December. HEAL is one of the partners for the conference. View programme and register for the conference at

6th International Conference on Children’s health and the environment (14-16 Nov 2011 - Lodz, Poland)

Organized by HEAL member International Network on Children’s Health Environment and Safety (INCHES) and WHO Regional Office in Poland, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine (NIOM) plus the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme. HEAL is also on the organizing committee. View programme and register at


We would like to remind you of some publications we launched earlier this year:

To view all of HEAL’s publications please visit:

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Originally posted on 13 July 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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