11 June 2003 13:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--The European Commission (EC) will be launching what it calls "pilot actions" on pollutants with specific relevance to children, including dioxins, heavy metals and endocrine disruptors, as part of its new strategy linking environment and health.
The strategy, details of which were released on Wednesday, aims to link environment and health policy with new research on the interaction between the environment and the human genome. It includes an action plan that is likely to lead in a few years to legislative proposals on targeted chemicals.
In the first cycle of the European environment and health strategy (from 2004 to 2010) the focus will be on four health effects: childhood respiratory diseases, asthma and allergies; neurodevelopment disorders; childhood cancer; and endocrine disrupting effects, the EC said.
Its action plan will be presented prior to the Inter-Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Budapest in June 2004 following a series of consultations which begin with a first stakeholders meeting on 11 July in Brussels.
The EC particularly cites the 10-fold incidence of childhood asthma in Western Europe compared with the East. In the UK alone, the total annual cost of asthma is estimated at more than Euro3.9bn ($4.6bn).
The new environment and health strategy aims to prompt investigation into the effects of exposure to a combination of different and sometimes inter-acting pollutants and their impact across different media - air, water, food and consumer products. Five key elements of the strategy have been given the acronym Scale: standing for science, children, awareness, legislation.
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