Europe needs to increase its effort to reduce cancer rates through changes in environmental policies

Brussels, 04/02/2014 – The International Agency for Research on Cancer published yesterday the World Cancer Report 2014. The report states that the worldwide burden of cancer will rise from an estimated 14 million new cases per year to 22 million during the next two decades. Treatment alone will not solve the cancer challenge, and IARC calls on the implementation of efficient prevention strategies and adequate legislation to reduce exposure and risks. The report suggests, among others, a regulatory approach to limit the exposure to occupational and environmental carcinogenic risks, including air pollution.

Currently there are around 80,000-100,000 chemicals on the market, in the form of pesticides, biocides and industrial chemicals in consumer and industrial goods. Humans can be exposed to these chemicals through multiple routes.

Anja Leetz, Health Care Without Harm Europe Executive Director states: “The EU needs to reduce human exposure to man-made chemicals that are carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction and start to take action on endocrine disrupting chemicals. Citizens have a right to know what they are exposed to and what Europe is doing to protect them.”

“In addition, at times of financial and economic crisis there is a challenge for health systems to provide treatment, so it should be in the interest of national governments to increase their efforts to prevent cancer and associated costs” continues Mrs Leetz.

HCWH Europe works to raise awareness on EDCs and nanomaterials and their impacts on human health and the environment are only a small step, and more needs to be done to combat cancer at the EU level.

Today, on the day of the world’s cancer day, governments need to understand the link between environmental pollution and health problems and act to halt the upward trend of occurrence of cancer diseases.


Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of more than 500 organisations in 53 countries, working to transform the healthcare sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment. Visit the HCWH website for more information.