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To: Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General;
Dr Margaret Chan, World Health Organization Director General
Re: Call for diseases and risk factors to be considered

September 5th, 2011

Dear United Nations Secretary General,

Dear World Health Organization Director General,

We welcome the joint initiative by the United Nations and the World Health Organization to host a high-level expert committee meeting on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, with a specific focus on the poorest countries of the world, during the UN General Assembly Session to be held in New York on the 19th and 20th September, 2011. We welcome the recognition by Heads of States of the seriousness of this global threat for all populations worldwide, assessed in the following terms:
- Non-communicable diseases account for over 63% of deaths in the world and further increases are expected, in particular in the African region;
- 29% of these deaths concern people under 60 years of age, living in low-and-middle income countries;

We deem it legitimate to qualify, as you did, this global trend of “epidemics” and “imminent catastrophe, a catastrophe for health, society and all the more for national economies”. We share the analysis that non-communicable diseases can no more be considered only as a medical or public health issue but are closely connected to development policies and raise political concerns. We know that the prevention of these diseases can be done at two levels: individual and collective. Therefore, Governments of countries of the world have an ethical responsibility to act to prevent part of these diseases. We support the recommendations of limiting tobacco use and of a healthy diet, low in refined sugars, saturated fats and salt and we cannot accept that economic interests undermine the efforts of the international health community to help populations change behaviors in a responsible way.

We consider it necessary for global health of the world population to also consider some other noncommunicable diseases as well as other exposures, beyond the ones which are amenable to behavioral interventions. Namely, we call for the inclusion in the UN resolution of neurologic and psychiatric disorders as well as reproductive problems, in addition to cancers, diabetes, cardiocerebro- vascular and respiratory diseases, as they do represent a significant share of the morbidity and are influenced by environmental risk factors. We also urge for a serious consideration when dealing with occupational factors of disease, of the issues of child labor as well as the specificity of women in the work force, in terms of sensitivity to potential toxics during reproductive years while also keeping in mind the issue of equal men treatment and pay at a comparable position and with similar education, training and experience.

Among the risk factors to be considered, the physico-chemical pollution of air, water, food, soil and objects of daily living is of major concern. This corresponds to the presence in our general, occupational and domestic living environment of carcinogens, teratogens, endocrine disruptors and other toxic agents, ranging from indoor and outdoor air pollution, poor quality drinking water, food supply contaminated by pesticide and medicinal drug residues to exposures at the workplace, in particular in countries with no occupational medicine, industrial hygiene or any other form of worker protection, and with frequent legal or illegal child labor. We are concerned about the effects of these chemical and physical (ionizing and non-ionizing radiations, such as EMF emitted by cell phones) agents in the population as a whole, but even more so among susceptible groups, such as women of reproductive age, children and disadvantaged individuals. The only effective way to protect the world population is to act at a global level, in particular through legislation at the national level and a framework convention at the international one.

The text of the UN Resolution needs to make clear statements and propositions such as the ones unanimously adopted during one of the preparatory meetings in Asturias which listed, among others the following key recommendations:

“1. Prevention of the environmental and occupational exposures that cause cancer must be an integral component of cancer control worldwide. Such prevention will require strong collaboration across sectors … and among countries, and also with civil society and the media.” ….

“4. All countries to adopt and enforce legislation for protection of populations, especially the most vulnerable populations, against environmental and occupational cancers.” …….

“6. Corporations to comply with all rules and regulations for prevention of environmental and occupational cancers and to use the same protective measures in all countries, developed and developing, in which they operate.” …

These measures if they are implemented will have a much larger impact than the one on cancer. In fact, many carcinogens are also reproductive hazards or just simply toxic for several organs in humans (brain, kidney, liver, etc.). By removing them from our environment or at a minimum limiting exposure to them, we can significantly contribute to making the children of today and future generations healthier.

We kindly request you to consequently complete the list of diseases and priority risk factors to reflect up to date scientific evidence and demonstrate the care Governments take of the health of their populations, being audacious enough to put the health of all ahead of the wealth of the few.

Yours sincerely,

This letter is signed by individual scientists and health professionals from many institutions around the globe. Their work affiliation is given for information of the readers and for identification purposes, but this should not be considered as any form of endorsement of the universities, research centers and other organizations which names appear on the following list. For members of non governmental organisations involved in the health and/or environment fields, name of an individual was most often a reflection of an official endorsement by the NGO, but this was not systematic.

Europe

France : Dr Annie J. Sasco, MD, MPH, MS, DrPH, HDR, Directrice de Recherche à l’Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), Epidemiology for Cancer Prevention, Team on HIV, Cancer and Global Health, Inserm U 897, Bordeaux Segalen University, Bordeaux

André Cicolella, Président du Réseau Environnement Santé, Conseiller scientifique à l’Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (INERIS), Paris

Elisabeth Ruffinengo, Advocacy Officer, Women in Europe for a Common Future, Annemasse

Sarah Anaïs Andrieu, Anthropologist, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris

Dr Xavier Anglaret, MD, PhD, Directeur de Recherche Inserm, Team on HIV, Cancer and Global Health, Inserm U 897, Bordeaux Segalen University, Bordeaux

Dr Geneviève Barbier, International Society of Doctors for the Environment-France, Paris

Anne Barre, Présidente du Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) France, Annemasse

Geoffrey Begon, Lyon Pr Dominique Belpomme, MD, PhD, President International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE)-France, Paris

Dorothée Benoit-Browaeys, Déléguée Générale de VivAgora, Paris Bernadette Bensaude Vincent, Directrice du CETCOPRA, Paris 1-Sorbonne University, Présidente of VivAgora, Paris

Nadège Bourvis, MPH, Psychiatric Intern, Paris Dr Nita Chaudhuri, PhD, Health Promotion and Environment Expert, Paris

Jacqueline Collard, Présidente Association Santé Environnement Rhône-Alpes (SERA), Grenoble

Nadia Collot, Founder CaméraSanté, Paris Madeleine Decoin, RN, GECSA, Inserm U 897, Bordeaux Segalen University, Bordeaux

Natalia Dejean, Directrice WECF France, Annemasse

Pr Michel Delcroix, Président d’Apri-Maternités sans Tabac, Bailleu Duccia Farnetani, Environmental engineer, Paris

Jean-François Gonnet, toxicologue, Lyon

Catherine Gouhier, Centre de Recherche et d’Information Indépendantes sur les Rayonnements Electromagnétiques (CRIIREM), Le Mans

Marie Grosman, Non au Mercure dentaire, Lyon

Dr Philippe Irigaray, PhD, International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE)-France, Paris

Laure Lachetallier, Vice-Présidente, Action Sociale, Handicap et Santé, Conseil Régional Île-de-France

Nadine Lauverjat, Générations Futures, Paris

Alain Lefranc, éco-electricien, Paris

Madeleine Madoré, Docteur en pharmacie, Paris

Pr Denis Malvy, MD, PhD, University Professor and Hospital Practitioner, Directeur Centre René Labusquière, Bordeaux Segalen University, and Services de Médecine Interne et Maladies Tropicales, Santé des voyageurs, Hôpital Saint-André, Bordeaux

Dominique Martin-Ferrari, Journaliste, Gaïa Network, Paris

Dr Marisa Mena, PhD, MS, Epidemiology for Cancer Prevention, Team on HIV, Cancer and Global Health, Inserm U 897, Bordeaux Segalen University, Bordeaux

Dr Gérard Ostermann, Médecine interne, Bordeaux

Dominique Ounadjela, Membre du Conseil d’Europe Ecologie Les Verts Ruth Peron, Vénissieux

Catherine Ramm, Paris

Dr Philippe Renaudier, MD, MS, Président du Conseil Scientifique de la Société Française d’Hémovigilance, Lyon

Eva Fleur Riboli-Sasco, MS, Student in Anthropology and International Development, Paris

Michèle Rivasi, Députée au Parlement Européen, Groupe Verts/ALE Dr Clément Rossignol, PhD, Junior Researcher Physicist, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Deputy Chairman Bordeaux Community, Bordeaux

Pr Gilles-Eric Séralini, President of CRIIGEN Scientific Council, Co-Director of Risk Pole, Quality and Sustainable Environment - MRSH- CNRS, University of Caen - Institute of Biology IBFA Laboratory Estrogens and Reproduction, Caen

Diana Smith, Health and Environment Communications and Media Consultant, Paris

Olivier Toma, Président du Comité pour le Développement Durable en Santé (C2DS), Paris

Bellancille Uwamaliya, GECSA, Inserm U 897, Bordeaux Segalen University, Bordeaux

François Veillerette, Spokesman of NGO Générations Futures, Expert on pesticide/chemicals issues, Paris

Belgium:

Corinne Lepage, Députée au Parlement européen, Brussels

Henriette Christensen, Senior policy adviser, Pesticide Action Network Europe, Brussels

Marie-Christine Dewolf, Project manager, Hygiène Publique en Hainaut asbl, Mons

Pr Luc Hens, PhD, Vlaamese Instelling voor Technologisch OnderZoek (VITO), Mol

Genon Jensen, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Brussels

Dr Jean Pauluis, Président de la cellule environnement-santé, Société Scientifique de Médecine Générale (SSMG) Tony Tweedale, MS, Rebutting Industry Science with Knowledge (R.I.S.K.) Consultancy, Brussels

Bulgaria:

Valentina Lukova, Executive director, My Right to Know Foundation, Sofia

Czech Republic:

Daniela Pelclova¡, MD, PhD, Professor of Occupational Medicine, Charles University and Department of Occupational Medicine of 1st Faculty of Medicine and General Teaching Hospital, Prague

Germany:

Alexandra Caterbow, Coordinator Chemicals and Health Women in Europe for a Common Future, Munich

Greece:

Adamantia F. Fragopoulou, MSc, PhD Candidate, Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Athens University, Athens

Pr Lukas H. Margaritis, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Athens University, Athens

Pr Polyxeni Nicolopoulou-Stamati, MD, PhD, Environmental Pathology, Medical School National and Kapodistrian University, Athens

Tatiana Styloglou, entrepreneur, Athens

Hungary:

Zsolt Horváth, Director Clean Air Action Group, Attila Szuhi, On Crossroads Foundation

Italy:

Dr Fiorella Belpoggi, MD PhD, Director, Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Centre, Ramazzini Institute, Bentivoglio

Dr Franco Berrino, MD, Department of Epidemiology, National Cancer Institute, Milan

Dr Ernesto Burgio, MD, Scientific Office President, International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE)

Pr Massimo Crespi, MD PhD, Fellow Collegium Ramazzini, Roma

Antonietta Gatti, Engineer, Visiting Professor of the Institute for Advanced Sciences Convergence (DoD, USA), Coordinator of the Italian Institute of Technology’s Project of Nanoecotoxicology called INESE, Modena

Dr Livio Giuliani, MD, Dirigente di Ricerca, Direttore di Dipartimento ISPEESL, Roma

Pr Roberto Lucchini, MD, Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health, Department of Experimental and Applied Medicine, University of Brescia, Brescia

Republic of Ireland:

The Hon. Desmond Guinness, Leixlip Castle, Leixlip, Co. Kildare John Weigel, Dublin

Luxembourg:

Maryse Arend, Director Initiativ Liewensufank asbl

Republic of Macedonia:

Dr Tomica Ancevski, Association of Doctors for the Environment (MADE), Kumanovo

Natasha Dokovska, Journalist, Journalists for Human Rights

Malta:

Sarah Cardona, Action for Breast Cancer

The Netherlands:

Peter van Hazel, INCHES

Sascha Gabizon, International Director, Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), Utrecht

Dr Livio Riboli-Sasco, PhD, Utrecht

Spain:

Francisca Gutiérrez Claverho, Presidenta Asquifyde (Asociacion estatal de afectados por los sindromes de sensibilidad quimica, fatiga cronica, fibromialgia y para la defensa de la salud ambiental)

María López Matallana, Presidenta de SFCMadrid. Asociacion de Afectados por SFC y por SQM de la Comunidad de Madrid

Clara Valverde, President, Liga SFC/EM (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME League)

Marga Santamaria, ANDAFED Asociacion Nacional de Afectados por Dimetilfumarato

Sweden:

Pr Olle Johansson, Associate Professor, Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute and Professor, The Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

United Kingdom:

Pr Martin Bobak, Professor of epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London

Hope Daley, UNISON, Public Sector Trade Union Clare Dimmer, Chair Breast Cancer UK

Diana Dowling, Breast Cancer

Pr Vyvyan C. Howard, MB, ChB, PhD, FSB, FRCPath, Nano Systems Biology, Centre for Molecular Bioscience, University of Ulster

Laurie Kazan-Allen, Coordinator, International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, London

David Kidney, Head of Policy, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, London

Helen Lynn, Alliance for Cancer Prevention,

Gwynne Lyons, CHEM Trust

John McClean, National Health and Safety Officer, GMB Trade Union

Pr Rory O’Neil, Occupational and Environmental Health Policy Research Group, Stirling University,

Scotland:

Dr Erhabor Osaro, Royal Bolton Hospital, National Hhealth Service (NHS) Trust Bolton

Jamie Page, Chief Executive, the Cancer Prevention and Education Society, England and Wales

Hilda Palmer, Hazards Campaign, Manchester

Morag Parnell, Women’s Environmental Network

Pr Andrew Watterson, PhD, CFIOSH, Professor of Health, Director of the Centre for Public Health and Population Health, Head of the Occupational and Environmental Health Research, University of Stirling, Stirling

Africa and Middle-East Benin:

Wilfried Affodegon, Directeur Exécutif, Centre Africain de Recherche et d’Action pour le Développement (CARAD), Cotonou

Ghana:

Emmanuel Odjam-Akumatey, Executive Director Ecological Restorations Dr Beatrice Wiafe, MD, PhD, President Breast Care International, CEO Peace and Love Hospital, Kumasi

Jordan:

Pr Dr. M. S. Al Salameh, Author and Academic, Jordan University of Science & Technology

Lebanon:

Elias R. Chedid, Attorney at Law

South Africa:

Professor Mohamed Jeebhay, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research, University of Capetown

Pr Leslie London, Director School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Capetown, Capetown

Americas Argentina:

Carolyn Stephens, PhD, FFPH, IFRSM, Profesora Titular Visitante en Ecologa y Salud Indegena, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional de Tucuma¡n and Reader in Ecology and Global Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Brazil:

Zuleica Nycz, Director of Toxisphera Environmental Health Association Pr Paolo Saldiva, MD, PhD, Coordinator of the National Institute of Risk Analysis National Research Center, Chairman of the Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo

Canada:

Marie-Hélène Bacon, MA, Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la gouvernance, les risques, l’environnement, les technosciences, la santé et la société (Gretess), Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal

Dr Yv Bonnier Viger, MD, MSc, MM, FRCPC, CMSQ, Médecin spécialiste en santé publique et médecine préventive, Médecin conseil à la Direction de santé publique de Chaudière-Appalaches, Directeur du Département de médecine sociale et préventive de l’Université Laval

Dr Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg, MES, PhD, Lecturer, University of Toronto

Dr Magda Havas, BSc, PhD, Associate Professor, Trent University

Dr Pascale Krzywkowski, PhD Neurosciences, MSc Sciences de l’environnement de l’Université du Québec à Montreal, Montreal

Dr Louise Lajoie, MD, MSc, Médecin spécialiste en santé communautaire, professeur de clinique en médecine préventive, Université de Sherbrooke

Françoise Maniet, Chargée de cours et agente de recherche, Département des sciences juridiques et GRETESS, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal

Dr Donna Mergler, PhD, Professor Emerita, Centre de recherches interdisciplinaires en biologie, santé, environnement et société (CINBIOSE), Université du Québec à Montréal

Pr Lise Parent, Professeure, Télé-Université, Montreal

Pr François Reeves, MD, FRCPc, Cardiologue d’intervention, Professeur agrégé de médecine, Département de santé environnementale et du travail, Université de Montréal, Montreal

Kathleen Ruff, Senior Human Rights Adviser, Rideau Institute, Ottawa

Rev Dominic J. Sasco, Holy Spirit Parish, Archdiocese of Toronto Donald and Clare Sasco, Sidney

Colin L. Soskolne, PhD, Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton

François Therrien, Collectif Sauvons nos Enfants des Ondes, Terrebonne

Pr Fernand Turcotte, MD, MPH, FRCPC, Professeur émérite de santé publique et médecine préventive, Université Laval, Quebec

Cathy Vaillancourt, PhD, Professeur agrégé/Associate Professor, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Université du Québec, Laval

Pr Louise Vandelac, PhD, Professeure titulaire, Départment de Sociologie, Directrice de l’Institut des Sciences et de l’Environnement, Université du Québec à Montréal

Haiti:

Joan Lysias Cassotti, MD, MS, Regional Advisor Reproductive Health, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Port-au-Prince

Mexico:

Fernando Bejarano, Center for Analyses on Toxics and Alternatives (CAATA), Mexico

Peru:

Dr Ernesto F Ráez-Luna, Director de Ciencia y Desarrollo Centro para la Sostenibilidad Ambiental, Environmental Sustainability Center, Universidad Peruana, Lima

USA:

Pr Nicholas A. Ashford, Professor of Technology and Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA

Pr John Bailar, PhD, Member of the US National Academy of Sciences, Chicago, IL

Pr Michael S Bloom, PhD, MS, Assistant Professor, Departments of Environmental Health Sciences and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University at Albany School of Public Health, State University of New York, NY

Dr Barry Castleman, ScD, Environmental Consultant, Washington DC Pr David O Carpenter, MD, Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany, NY

Pr Richard Clapp, DSc, MPH, Professor Emeritus, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA

Pr Arthur L Frank, MD, PhD, Professor of Public health, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA

Pr Antonio Giordano, MD PhD , Director Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine and Center of Biotechnology, College of Science and Technology, Temple University BioLife Science , Philadelphia, PA Nancy Hepp, Research and Communications Specialist, Collaborative on Health and the Environment,

Dr James Huff, Phd, Staff scientist, Chemical Carcinogenesis, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Research Triangle Park, NC

Pr Patricia Hunt, Meyer Distinguished Professor, School of Molecular Biosciences, Washington State University, WA

Pr Joseph LaDou, MD, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine University of California, San Francisco, CA

Pr Lisa Lavine Nagy, MD President of The Preventive and Environmental Health Alliance Inc.

Dr James Melius, MD, DrPH, New York State Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund

Dr Lloyd Morgan, PhD, Senior Scientist, Environmental Health Trust (EHT), CA

Cindy Sage, MA, Sages Associates, Santa Barbara, CA

Pr Ana Soto, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA

Pr Leslie Thomas Stayner, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

Pr Shanna H. Swan, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY

Dr Daniel Thau Teitelbaum MD, Colorado School of Public Health, Denver, CO Venezuela:

Dr Janice Fernández de D´Pool, MD, MPH, Dr in Medical Sciences, Instituto de Salud, Ocupacional y Ambiental Facultad de Medicina, Universidad del Zulia

Asia Cambodia:

Dr Pascal Millet, Medical Officer, French Embassy, Advisor for the Rector, Université des Sciences de la Santé, Phnom Penh

China:

Dr Jung-Der Wang MD, ScD, Chair Professor, Department of Public Health, National Cheng Kung University College of Medicine, Taiwan

Indonesia:

Dr Sudjoko Kuswadji, MSc(OM), PKK SpOk, Yayasan Sudjoko Kuswadji Bersaudara (YSKB), Banten Dicky Jatnika, Musician, Bandung

South Korea:

Hae-Kwan Cheong, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Sungjyunkwan University School of Medicine, Suwon

Oceania Australia:

Peter Evans, RN (formerly) Grad Dip Health Counselling Convenor, South Australian Task Force on, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Port Adelaide

Dr James Leigh MD PhD MSc MA C Eng BLegS FAFOEM FAFPHM, Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia Rwth Stuckey, PhD., Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine Monash University, Melbourne

New-Ze aland:

Mary Redmayne, PhD candidate, School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Meriel Watts, Coordinator, Pesticide Action Network, Aotearoa

Contact :

Dr Annie J. Sasco, MD, DrPH Epidemiology for Cancer Prevention Team of HIV, Cancer and Global health Inserm U 897 Bordeaux Segalen University 146 rue Leo Saignat 33176 Bordeaux cedex - France Cell : ++33 6 74 25 43 93 mail: annie.sasco@inserm.fr ajsasco@gmail.com

Last updated on 19 October 2011

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