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Health community puts environment first in cancer prevention

The World Health Organization has put environmental and occupational factors in first place in the primary prevention of cancer with the launch of the Asturias Pledge.

"Decreasing, and eventually eliminating the exposure to environmental and occupational carcinogens is the most effective way to prevent a number of cancers," according to the World Health Organization in a press release following a meeting in Asturias, Spain, 17-18 March 2011.

The Asturias Pledge represents an important milestone in developing international consensus on the primary prevention of cancer - stopping cancer before it starts by eliminating harmful exposures. Immediately prior to the meeting, HEAL issued a briefing on the role of environmental pollution in cancer causation. It also highlights the policy opportunities for reducing exposure. The pledge’s recognition of the importance of environmental and occupational exposures by medical and scientific experts and the WHO makes HEAL’s call for specific EU and national targets - to reduce people’s exposure to cancer-related chemicals by half by 2020 - even more pertinent and urgent.

HEAL is currently running a campaign to raise awareness of the links between cancer and the environment. We also aim to ensure that these links are fully recognised within the European Union’s chemicals laws and policies, such as REACH, pesticide and biocide legislation.



Written on 1 April 2011.

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