Brussels, 01 Apr 2004
MEPs have responded positively to the Commission's report on a 'European Environment and Health Strategy', although 'In scientific terms, the EU is still making too much environmental health policy in the dark,' claimed Swedish MEP and rapporteur Marit Paulsen after the Parliament vote.
The Commission's proposal aims at achieving a better understanding of the environmental threats to human health and planning appropriate policy responses.
The Parliament resolution welcomes the intention behind the proposal, but 'considers it to be an illusion to believe that the strategy could 'fill the knowledge gap on the link between environment and health', let alone 'generate the necessary information for establishing the cause-effect link', given the enormous complexity of the links between environment and health.'
Instead, MEPs recommend an immediate and comprehensive survey and evaluation of all scientific information already available.
Parliament also called on the Commission to include the precautionary principle in the strategy. It suggests that a proactive approach using the precautionary principle needs to be applied when the science is inconclusive, and when there is a potentially serious or irreversible threat to health or the environment.
Highlighting a specific and current concern, MEPs also requested that the Commission ask its Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment to evaluate whether the current proposal to reform the chemicals industry, known as REACH, will provide adequate protection for children from exposure to harmful chemicals, in particular from particles. To access the Parliament resolution, please