Category Archives: News

First time screening of ‘La Mort est dans le Pré’ in Brussels

On 27 March, a fully packed audience watched the first-ever screening of the documentary in Brussels and heard representatives of the French phytovictims association explain how pesticides have affected their lives.

Photos from the event available here

To highlight the urgent need to reduce exposure of consumers and farmers to pesticides, Campaign secretariat HEAL brought together pesticide victims and EU policy makers in Brussels to discuss how to prevent impacts of pesticides on our health.

The successful film screening ‘La Mort est dans le Pré’ was co-hosted by HEAL, MEP Hiltrud Breyer, and EDC-Free campaign partners Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN-E) and Générations Futures.

photo1Participants at the screening discovered how the lives of farmers have been affected by the use of pesticides in their daily lives: Pesticide use has led to the development of life threatening diseases and conditions including cancer, lymphoma, Parkinson’s and brain tumours in cereal and vine growers, agricultural workers and others.

French director Eric Guéret immersed himself for a year in the lives of these individuals to overcome the silence within the agricultural community. Although many do not talk about these issues and often refuse to make the link between pesticides and diseases, hundreds of farmers are victims.

filmThe film pays tribute to some of the individuals who are part of an association of French farmers called PHYTO VICTIMES and feature in the documentary. President Paul Francois, who successfully sued US biotech giant Monsanto for poisoning him with a powerful weedkiller; Caroline CHENET-LIS, Vice President, who lost her husband to leukaemia; and, Jacky Ferrand, whose son passed away from bladder cancer thought to be associated with pesticides used on vines shared their personal stories after the screening of the film. They were joined by Emilie Chenet, daughter of Caroline Chenet-Lis and Ophelie Robineau from Phytovictims secretariat.

President Paul Francois says a key aim of the association is to support greater protection from pesticide exposure to those who are highly exposed. “We are here in Brussels to show the harm caused by heavy exposure to pesticides and to call for a quick and definitive withdrawal of carcinogens, neurotoxins, and endocrine disruptors.”

MEP Hiltrud Breyer and the audience addressed the individuals as ‘heros’ for their powerful determination to raise awareness about our exposure to pesticides.

Pesticide Action Week is an annual and international event, first initiated by HEAL member Générations Futures, which is open to everyone, with the aim to promote alternatives to pesticides. More information here

Pesticide Action Week proves another great success

The 9th edition of the Pesticide Action Week has been a great success, with a significant increase of participating countries and activities this year.

EDC-Free campaign partners Générations Futures, Réseau Environnement Santé (RES), campaign supporter Appel de la Jeunesse  and two other organisations Agir pour l’Environnement, and Les Désobéissants came together to call on French supermarkets to make their fruit and vegetables free of endocrine disrupting pesticides.

The organisations prepared an action outside the French supermarket giant Auchan in Paris to ask for evidence that there was an absence of endocrine disrupting pesticides residues in their fruit and vegetables. A two meter long list of suspected ED pesticides was presented by the organisations as well as information distributed to consumers.

The message to them is rather positive, that they should not wait for policy decisions on EDCs but rather, focus on the consumers and require the relevant changes for the providers and subcontractors to supermarkets. The discussion with the local supermarket managing team was quite positive and the organisations hope for a meeting at the headquarters of Auchan.

On the closing day of Pesticide Action Week the new French Environment Minister announced that she is asking all mayors and local authorities to quickly move to pesticide free green spaces and public places.

More information on Pesticide Action Week here

Call for national plan to reduce use of pesticides by 30 percent until 2020

Campaign partner Vivosano with the Fund for protecting Environmental Health (Fonda para la Defensa de la Salud Ambiental) call for national plans to reduce the use and exposure of pesticides in Spain and achieve laws to protect people’s health and the environment.

In a new report the two organisations propose the establishment of legal reduction targets for pesticide use in Spain to protect human health, nature and the future of agriculture. By 2020, Spain should reduce its use of pesticides by at least 30 percent from current levels.

The report provides a basis for authorities and urge policies to promote the drafting of specific plans to achieve a significant reduction in the amount of pesticides that are consumed in Spain, mainly in the agricultural sector, by specific quantitative and testable targets.

You can download the report here

Post provided by campaign partner Vivosano

Dangers of prenatal exposure to harmful chemicals outlined in Dutch Health Council report

Campaign partner Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) highlight a recent report released by the Dutch Health Council on prenatal exposure to chemical substances.

The report underscores the urgent need for immediate action to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from the detrimental effects of prenatal exposure to harmful chemicals, including Bisphenol A (BPA).

The Dutch government should do more to trace the harmful impacts of these substances, especially during pregnancy. Chemical substances can affect the development of the immune system, endocrine system and nervous system of the foetus with lifelong impacts.

For the summary (in English) of the Report of the Dutch Health Council you can click here.

The WECF press release (in Dutch) can be found here.

Post provided by campaign partner WECF

HEAL re-launches Chemicals Health Monitor


Campaign secretariat HEAL recently re-launched its Chemicals Health Monitor (CHM), a revived online service consisting of a revamped website and newsletter as well as new social media tools, all available in English and German.

HEAL’s ultimate goal in providing such a service is to improve public health by promoting support for more protective regulation of hazardous chemicals in Europe and beyond. The project encourages public health and health professional groups to use and share educational resources to inform patients and the public.

What you can do

  • Find out about how different health problems may be linked to chemical exposure by exploring the re-vamped website – in English or German
  • Sign up to the CHM newsletter and encourage others to join via the homepage on the websites

Follow us on Twitter @CHM_HEAL and @CHEM_HEAL

Post provided by Campaign secretariat HEAL

European Ombudsman condemns EFSA twice for mal-administration

In 2011, campaign partner Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN-E) started a complaint to the EU Ombudsman on the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Working Group on the threshold of toxicological concern (TTC), a statistical approach for risk assessment substituting safety testing.

PAN Europe concluded that EFSA failed to protect the interest of the public and promoted the interests of industry as 10 out of 13 members had been involved in promoting TTC in the past with many links to industry.

The EU Ombudsman concluded that this was a case of maladministration. EFSA failed to start a thorough investigation after the publication of the report by PAN Europe as well as failing to reply to PAN Europe at all. EFSA only presented its views after the opening of the inquiry of the Ombudsman, but still then it did not address the issues in a thorough and specific manner and limited itself to some general observations.

Read more about PAN’s complaint and a second allegation here

Post provided by PAN Europe

Report on EDCs in Spanish medical journal raises awareness of campaign

This week a spanish medical journal Diario Médico published a report on EDCs and a letter sent by the Spanish Society of Public Health and Health Administration (SESPAS) to the Spanish government.

Diario Médico is sent daily by email to around 42.700 health care professionals and, in its paper version, is distributed weekly in health care centres, hospitals, health administrations and industry, etc. all over Spain. This is great news for the EDC-Free campaign.

The article is available here

Post provided by campaign supporter Ecologistas en Acción

WECF: EU rules on toys too weak

Campaign partner Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) recently higlighted the need to have full disclosure of ingredients (as with cosmetics) for toys, as well as stricter laws that apply the precautionary principle, with zero tolerance for harmful chemicals.

Parents are more and more concerned about not knowing which harmful substances are found in toys, and that policy makers and industry are not doing enough to protect their children’s health.

The new chemical requirements of the EU toy safety Directive have been in force since July 2013 giving the EU the chance to really protect children from hazardous chemicals when the Directive was reviewed in 2009. However, they only went half way.

Toys are part of children’s daily life and therefore they should by safe. As children have developing organs, rapid metabolisms, thinner skin and immature immune systems, as well as specific behaviours, they are more vulnerable than adults to chemicals of concern. Banning harmful substances from toys is necessary to protect children from possible long-term and irreversible health effects.

The revised chemical requirements of the Directive are a slight improvement from the previous version when it comes to the use of carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances (CMRs). But unfortunately, the new Directive does not ban them from toys.

The Directive lags behind technical feasibility and existing EU rules on CMRs in other sectoral regulations, such as those covering food contact materials. It is still too weak and needs to be strengthened by banning all CMRs from use in toys. Children should not be exposed to such substances when playing with toys.

Post provided by campaign partner WECF