Category Archives: News

New publication on NCDs: Environmental factors one of the main causes of preventable deaths

WECF HEAL NCD reportNon-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now a leading cause of preventable morbidity and related disability, and therefore significantly affect the well-being of many individuals and workers in their daily lives.

A new publication on NCDs aims to provide the latest knowledge from some of the leading experts and organisations from four perspectives: women’s organisations, the health sector, developing countries and trade unions.

The authors identify the links of NCDs with environmental pollution in these four areas and share priorities for preventive policy action as well as sharing instructive case studies. The publication clearly demonstrates environmental factors as major determinants for NCDs, and the related challenge for sustainability.

The publication results from a cooperation of Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), SustainLabour and International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), with the Regional Office for Europe of UNEP in the context of active participation and engagement of major groups and stakeholders in environment and health agenda setting, policy dialogue and decision-making.

You can find the press release here
The publication is available here

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

IBFAN’s ‘Breastfeeding Briefs’ focuses on infant and young children feeding and chemical residues

The July issue of Breastfeeding Briefs from the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) expands on a statement earlier in the year by IBFAN on Infant and Young Child Feeding and Chemical Residues.

Parents, carers and health professionals are rightly concerned about feeding infants and young children in our polluted world. The presence of toxic substances and chemical residues in numerous foods have harmful effects on children’s health and in this context, we need independent information on the risks and dangers of environmental pollution.

This briefing covers the main chemical residues found in breast milk as well as those found in infant formula, baby foods, feeding bottles and teats. It emphasises the potential for harm to health and development caused by chemical exposure during pregnancy, at a time when the tissues and organs of the unborn child are developing rapidly.

Lastly, it considers the role of breastfeeding in mitigating these harmful effects. Contrary to breastfeeding, formula feeding does not afford any protection to babies exposed to chemicals in the womb. In addition, it contributes to environmental pollution that will eventually increase the risk of exposure of us all, and of women during pregnancy and lactation, to chemicals. It has a negative ecological footprint with consequences for future generations that are aggravated if breastfeeding is discouraged whenever chemical residues are detected in breast milk.

The briefing can be found here
IBFAN’s statement is available here

Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL

France opens public consultation on endocrine disrupting chemicals

The French Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy has opened a public consultation on EDCs, following a report delivered by an ad hoc working group.

The report (available here in French) proposes intensifying research efforts, with a focus on the effects of EDCs on health and biodiversity and on possible replacement options. It also calls for at least five substances each year that are assessed on their endocrine disrupting effects.

The consultation (FR) is open until 20 September and the results will feed into a national strategy on EDCs prepared by the French government.

ECHA public consultation on alternatives on the use of a phthalate (DEHP)

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has recently opened an eight week period for public consultation on alternatives on the use of a phthalate (DEHP), a suspected carcinogen, known reprotoxicant, EDC and neurotoxicant. The consultation closes on 9 October 2013.

Interested parties are invited to submit relevant information on alternatives for the use of a substance subject to authorisation. The comments will be posted on ECHA’s website on a regular basis,.

All the submissions will be reviewed and considered by the ECHA Committees for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC). Based on the final opinions of the two committees, the European Commission will take a decision as to whether to grant the applicant an authorisation for the use applied for, or not.

Further information on the public consultation and on how to submit information on alternatives can be found at:

Information on the ongoing public consultations and the consultation process for applications for authorisation

More information on the applications for authorisation process under the REACH Regulation
Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL 

Smart Fox: ToxFox-App helps consumers detect EDCs in cosmetics


On 24 July 2013, campaign partner BUND launched an App to make it easier for consumers to check if their cosmetics contain EDCs.

The Smart phone App is based on a study that BUND carried out using the data-bank of the Swiss which at that time comprised the lists of ingredients of 62.559 cosmetic products. The code-check database is being continually compiled by critical consumers in German-speaking countries in a Wikipedia style system.

BUND screened the Code-Check data for 16 EDCs that emerged as critical for consumers’ health after cross-checking the EU-priority list for EDCs with the INCI-List (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients).

The most striking results are that nearly a third of the 62.559 products contain EDCs. But there are EDC-Free alternatives out there on the market for example, shampoo and toothpaste. Natural cosmetics are generally EDC-Free whereas market leaders use the harmful substances in nearly half of their body care products.

Simple steps to using the ToxFox-App:

  • The bar-code of a product is scanned by the camera of the iPhone, then a green or a red symbol tells whether the product is EDC-Free or not.
  • A blue question mark appears when new products are scanned
  • The App can also select data along product groups and companies.

Those without an iPhone or Smart phone can use the tool via BUND’s website here Before ending the search, individuals can send an email to the respective producer asking about the product.

The idea behind the tool is to provide consumers with the opportunity to protect their health and that of their children as long as legislative regulation of EDCs is insufficient.


Post provided by campaign secretariat HEAL and acampaign partner BUND

REACH and EDCs – chemical safety undermined

On 23 July 2013, campaign partner ClientEarth released a report indicating that manufacturers are ignoring, misrepresenting or disregarding the potential of certain EDCs.

The report, REACH registration and endocrine disrupting chemicals, is based on information made available by ECHA about five such chemicals which are used in a wide range of everyday products, including children’s toys and personal care products like sunscreens and deodorants.  Industry is undermining European chemical safety with inadequate reporting of information, this is jeopardising the fundamental REACH principle of “no data, no market”.

Since 1999, when the EU Commission first published the Community Strategy for EDCs, there has been a significant increase in the scientific knowledge about these chemicals, but those responsible for ensuring the safety of chemicals they place on the EU market have not adequately adapted their approach so that their REACH dossiers reflect this increase.

The research from ClientEarth indicates that, for a number of substances known to have endocrine disrupting properties, the dossiers are not of the quality required by REACH. REACH is intended to protect public health and the environment and companies that register substances in the incorrect way should be held to account.

The five substances investigated in the report are diethyl phthalate, bisphenol A, tetrabromobisphenol A, triclosan and octyl-methoxycinnamate.


Post provided by campaign partner ClientEarth

EFSA launches public consultation on BPA

EFSA’s scientific experts have provisionally concluded that food is the main source of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) for consumers. BPA is a chemical compound used in food contact materials such as packaging. This is the Authority’s first review of exposure to BPA since 2006 and the first to cover both dietary and non-dietary sources such as thermal paper and dust.

As part of a two-stage process of its full risk assessment, EFSA is seeking feedback on this draft assessment of consumer exposure to BPA. All stakeholders and interested parties can provide their comments from 25 July to 15 September 2013. During a later stage, EFSA will publicly consult on the second part of its draft opinion, focusing on its assessment of the potential human health risks of BPA.

The public consultation is available here


Post provided by the Campaign Secretariat HEAL

Collegium Ramazzini position on EDCs & chemicals safety policy in the EU

On 13 July, the Collegium Ramazzini sent a letter to President Barroso and Commissioners Tajani, Potočnik, and Borg outlining the serious concerns in the international scientific community of an impending decision regarding EU Chemicals Policy, specifically regarding EDCs.

The Collegium Ramazzini, which is an international academy of 180 scientists from 35 countries, experts in environmental and occupational health, released a statement calling for new ways to test chemicals and to revise current approaches to risk management.

Europeans are exposed to EDCs, both natural and synthetic, to an extent that is causing adverse health effects such as testicular and breast cancer, decline in sperm counts, reproductive organ deformities, diabetes and obesity. Recent research suggests that the effects can even be transmitted to future generations.

With regards to the REACH authorisation, the Collegium Ramazzini recommends to improve test protocols and expanded test requirements to allow the identification of EDCs, for which a safe threshold cannot be determined at present. The scope of REACH should be extended by default to all EDCs and substances of very high concern (SVHC) and stringent hazard-based evaluation criteria must be used for EDCs.

The letter and statement are available on the Collegium Ramazzini website


Post provided by the Campaign Secretariat HEAL