Category Archives: News

Media photo op: Delays are wasting opportunities for prevention of chronic disease and healthcare savings

Press release available in English - French Spanish - German

Photo opportunity: Fifteen banner-carrying EDC-Free Europe campaigners will hand José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission a colourful collage of photos sent in by citizens and groups from across Europe illustrating concerns about just how pervasive endocrine disrupting chemicals may be in everyday products and our lives. The event takes place on Wednesday, 13 November at 8.30 am outside the European Commission building at Schuman.

 The photos are arranged in a visual image portraying President Barroso making an “all OK” sign – in the hope that he will respond positively in supporting urgent action on EDCs to reduce human exposure, particularly in products used by the most vulnerable, such as babies and pregnant women.

Barroso Mosaïque_under embargo

MEDIA ADVISORY

Delays are wasting opportunities for prevention of chronic disease and healthcare savings

Brussels, Wednesday 13 November – Fifteen EDC-Free Europe campaigners are presenting José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission with a huge EDC-Free poster today in an urgent call for action on endocrine disrupting chemicals.

The EDC-Free Europe coalition, made up of 50 partners representing hundreds of EU citizens’ organizations (1), has integrated dozens of photos from campaign activities across Europe into a poster portraying Barroso. They are calling on him to quickly bring forward delayed EDC policy proposals to better protect people’s health and prevent chronic diseases. The chronic disease associated with EDCs is a leading public health challenge and drain on the economy.

The campaign action today reiterates a call made in a letter to Barroso in May this year. (2) The letter called for an end to delays in regulatory action on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and immediate action to reduce people’s exposure.  The groups say that postponed decisions will unnecessarily prolong people’s exposure to these chemicals. Low-level, everyday exposures to EDCs disturb the human hormone system and have been linked to many serious chronic diseases that are increasing in incidence in Europe, such as breast cancer.

“It was democratically agreed by the European Parliament that scientific criteria for EDCs would be set by December this year. The European Commission’s recent decision to launch an impact assessment on criteria ignores the December deadline. Since when do scientific criteria get set by impact assessments? This move ignores the public will and goes against scientific recommendation,” says Lisette van Vliet, HEAL, one of the campaign partners in the coalition.

Scientists actively engaged in endocrine disruptor research made their position on the need for urgent action very clear earlier this year. In May 2013, 89 leading public health scientists from around the world signed the Berlaymont Declaration on endocrine disruptors, which calls on the European Commission to act. (3) They list EDC-related conditions as infertility, congenital malformations (and testicular cancer), breast cancer, prostate cancer, ADHD, obesity and diabetes, amongst others.

Industry pressure, rather than scientific controversy about the criteria to protect EU citizens from harmful EDCs, may be at the heart of why the decisions are being delayed.

In October, the Swedish and Danish ministers of Environment wrote to Janez Potčnik, the European environment commissioner expressing their concerns that an impact assessment would take socio-economic criteria into account, which they claimed is not within the scope of the biocidal products Regulation’s (BPR). (4)

“HEAL believes that the Commission has obtained ample scientific input and should stand up to industry bullying on the criteria. It should publish a revised strategy as soon as possible and ensure that REACH does not authorise chemicals that are hormone disruptors when safer alternatives exist,” Ms van Vliet adds.

Contacts:

Lisette van Vliet, HEAL Senior Policy Officer, email: lisette@env-health.org  Tel: +32 2 234 3645, mobile: +32 484 614 528

Genon K. Jensen, Executive Director, Health and Environment Alliance, Tel: +32 2 234 3642, Mobile: +32 495 808 732, Email: genon@env-health.org

Diana Smith, HEAL Communications and Media Adviser, Diana@env-health.org, mobile: +33 6 33 04 2943

Notes for journalists

1. EDC-Free Europe campaign has 50 signed-up members representing hundreds of groups throughout Europe, including trade unions, consumers, public health and healthcare professionals, and advocates for cancer prevention, environmentalists and women’s groups. Those in Brussels today will carry banners with the campaign message – STOP hormone disrupting chemicals and blown-up photos of suspect consumer items with arrows asking the question: “Is this disrupting me?” as well as the collage of many photos arranged in a visual image portraying President Barroso.

2. Joint NGO letter to President Barroso and Commissioners: Call to reduce our exposure to EDCs, 7 May 2013, http://www.env-health.org/resources/letters/article/joint-ngo-letter-to-president )

3. The Berlaymont Declaration is available at www.env-health.org/resources/press…/heal-responds-to-berlaymont

4. Letter on EDCs to Commissioners Potočnik and Tajani from Swedish and Danish Ministers for the Environment, 30 October 2013, Letter and ChemSec press release at http://www.chemsec.org/news/news-2013/october-december/1209-letter-on-edcs-to-commissioners-potocnik-and-tajani-from-swedish-and-danish-ministers-for-the-environment

 

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). With the support of more than 65 member organisations, HEAL brings independent expertise and evidence from the health community to different decision-making processes. Our broad alliance represents 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 research institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Website: www.env-health.org

Breast Cancer UK Manifesto: 5 pledges for 2015 and beyond towards the prevention of breast cancer

BCUK Manifesto front cover thumbnailOn 23 October campaign partner Breast Cancer UK (BCUK) launched its Manifesto ‘Prevention is better than cure: 5 pledges for 2015 and beyond towards the prevention of breast cancer’ calling on the UK Government ‘to stop breast cancer before it starts’.

Breast cancer rates in England have risen by 90% since 1971. Nearly 50,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year.  Breast Cancer UK believes much more can be done to help prevent people from getting breast cancer in the first place – but currently the Government’s failure to address the chemical causes of the disease fundamentally weakens breast cancer prevention policy.

Breast Cancer UK’s 5 manifesto pledges are:

  1. Prioritise the primary prevention of breast cancer;
  2. Improve the regulation of chemicals;
  3. Protect the unborn child by offering advice to pregnant and breast feeding women;
  4. Ban the use of Bisphenol A in food and drinks packaging;
  5. Improve labelling laws and implement the ‘right to know’ what chemicals are in products.

BCUK have set up a Take Action asking supporters to write to their MPs asking them to pledge to prevent and support the Manifesto. To be part of this action, click here

Campaign partners HEAL, Cancer Prevention and Education Society, CHEMTrust and ClientEarth are supporters of the Manifesto. In 2005, BCUK and HEAL jointly published the report “Breast Cancer – an Environmental Disease: The Case for Primary Prevention” available here

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

Save the date 4th November! EP event: A cure for bias in chemicals policy

Why EFSA is failing to convince on BPA and how a more robust and transparent approach to the use of expert opinion can help restore trust in the regulatory process.

On 4 November, a lunch time event in the European Parliament hosted by MEP Corinne Lepage will invite participants to compare best practice in medicine for the evaluation and communication of evidence with current practices in the risk assessment of chemicals.

Discussion will be based on the findings of a ground-breaking new report from the Policy from Science Project, examining how EU processes for assessing evidence can be made more scientifically robust, using EFSA’s Expert Opinions on BPA as illustrative case-studies.

Participants will leave with an understanding of the value of systematic review techniques for the transparent and authoritative analysis of scientific evidence, and how these techniques constitute the foundations of a new strategic blueprint for evidence-based decision-making in chemicals policy.

More information on the logistics will follow soon.

TEDX List of Potential Endocrine Disruptors

TEDX screenshot (400x234)Have you been wondering what EDCs might be in your shampoo, or which pesticides or flame retardants are endocrine disruptors?

Now you can find out with the new search page for TEDX List of Potential Endocrine Disruptors that includes 14 different categories to identify the uses and sources of exposure for each chemical. You can also see a short tutorial on how to use the searchable list.

The TEDX List is a database of chemicals with the potential to affect the endocrine system. It’s purpose is to present the chemicals for which at least one peer-reviewed study has been published, so that scientists, regulators, advocates, and the public are better informed.

Click here to access the page.

To date (October, 2013) there are nearly 1,000 endocrine disruptors on the TEDX List. Chemicals can be searched by full or partial chemical name, by CAS1 number, or by categories derived from the uses and sources of the chemicals.

Every chemical on the TEDX List has one or more verified citations. Each citation is from published, accessible, primary scientific research demonstrating effects on the endocrine system.

References are provided to support each chemical’s inclusion on the list. The number of citations presented in the TEDX List has been limited for practical reasons. It does not reflect the relative amount of research that has been done on each chemical and therefore should not be used as a method of ranking or prioritising.

New leaflet: Endocrine disruptors in the healthcare sector – Are there reasons for concern?

HCWH leafletCampaign partner Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe have recently published a new leaflet created for healthcare professionals on EDCs.

The leaflet entitled ‘Endocrine disruptors in the healthcare sector – Are there reasons for concern?’ examines the reasons why we should be concerned, who is at risk and where EDCs are hidden in the healthcare sector.

Despite the increasing awareness of the health effects of EDCs in the European sphere, thorough legislative action has not been taken to reduce the presence of EDCs in the healthcare sector.

The leaflet looks at why harmful chemicals are allowed in this sector and what should be done to move towards an EDC-Free future.

It specifically targets medical doctors or nurses who can facilitate the transition to innovative and sustainable processes in the healthcare sector – to lessen the use of hazardous chemicals such as EDCs and contribute to limit their adverse effects on patient health.

The leaflet is available here in English and French
Post provided by campaign partner Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH)

ECOS call for experts for European standards related to chemical substances in construction products

The European Environmental Citizens Organisation for Standardisation (ECOS) is looking for experts to provide expertise and represent, on behalf of ECOS, the environmental interests in the development of European standards related to chemical substances in construction products.

ECOS is looking in particular for experts to represent it in the following groups:

  • CEN/Technical Committee (TC) 351
  • CEN/TC 351 Working Group (WG) 1
  • CEN/TC 351 WG 2

More information on the groups is available in the call for experts document here

The tasks of the expert will include:

  • To monitor the relevant work of the one or several specific technical committees;
  • To participate in and present ECOS’ views in the selected standardisation committee meetings and report back to ECOS Secretariat (circa 2-3 meetings a year);
  • To prepare technical input and position papers in close collaboration with the ECOS Secretariat;
  • To regularly exchange with interested ECOS member organisations and other experts (by e-mail).

Activities are expected to start in October 2013 and will continue in 2014.

To find out more information about the call for experts including the remuneration and how to apply, please click here.

Response requested by no later than 31 October 2013

ECOS is an umbrella organisation representing 30 European environmental NGOs in the development process of European standards and technical product policies related to ecodesign and energy labelling. More information is available at www.ecostandard.org.

 

Sign the petition: Remove EDCs from Beiersdorf products!

Nivea petitionAn online petition has been launched by campaign partner BUND calling on cosmetic producer Beiersdorf to remove any EDC from its products. 

Nivea products are manufactured by Beiersdorf, with lotions containing so-called parabens, which are absorbed through the skin and passed on to unborn children – a worrying discovery for mothers.

The petition has already reached 75,000 signatures!

Only recently, BUND led another petition against the same substances Johnson&Johnsons Penaten baby cream. This campaign was highly successful with Johnson&Johnson products being parabens-free as of mid 2014. This shows how much consumers can achieve!

Sign the petition on change.org here

Latest newsletter from the Danish Consumer Council

Check out all the latest news from The Danish Consumer Council, an EDC-Free campaign supporter.

Banning endocrine disrupters in consumer products is just one of the issues discussed in the latest newsletter. Take a look below:

Newsletter 14 – April 15th/2013
- Combination of EDCs in cosmetics increases risk
-
Endocrine disrupter BHA common ingredient in chewing gum in Denmark
- Petition for ban against EDCs in consumer goods
- ‘EDC free’-website launched

More newsletters are available here