HCWH Europe Newsletter: A European Wrap-Up


 Health Care Without Harm Europe
In this issue
Member Profile:  What Healthcare Projects is the Czech Environment NGO Arnika Working On?
Events:  Low Carbon Healthcare conference and more....
Chemicals in Focus: ECHA proposes 20 new Substances of Very High Concern and more...
New Publications: WHO – Pharmaceuticals in the drinking water and more...
Members Update: EU Project for PVC Free Blood Bags Approved
What Healthcare Projects is the Czech Environment NGO Arnika Working On?
What Healthare Projects is the Czech Environment NGO Arnika Working On?
HWCH member Arnika, one of the Czech Republic's most important environmental NGO works on a number of projects including eliminating toxic substances from Czech hospitals, Toxic Free Future Campaign, Waste in a Source and Do Not Play with PVC. Find out more about Arnika and their healthcare and Toxic and Waste programmes. They are also working with one hospital to implement the Eco-Management & Audit Scheme.  more
Poland: Children's Health and the Environment

Date: 14-16 November 2011
Poland: Children’s Health and the Environment
6th International Conference on Children's Health and the Environment

Main topics include: Latest research findings in children's environmental health; relationship between environmental contaminants and children's health; strengthen the importance of prenatal exposure to environmental factors on pregnancy outcome and children's health. All participants are invited to submit an abstract for an oral or poster presentation during the conference. See the list of abstract topics. Deadline for submission: 16th September.
Who should attend: Health professionals, scientists and policy makers with a special interest in children's environmental health; leaders from the private sector, NGOs and community organisations, and all levels of government.
Organisers: International Network on Children's Health Environment and Safety (INCHES), WHO Regional Office in Poland, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine (NIOM), Polish-Norwegian Research Programme.
Poland: Low Carbon Healthcare Project

Date: 22 September 2011
Implementation of energy efficiency projects in healthcare
Conference theme is to decreased energy consumption and CO2 emission by presenting:
  • Innovative technology solutions that decrease energy consumption in healthcare facilities.
  • Application of innovative solutions for energy management in healthcare facilities with projection of financial benefits.
  • Analysis of sample purchases and use of equipment, buildings and constructions.
Who should attend? Representatives of management of healthcare facilities, specialists responsible for technical infrastructure of healthcare facilities, public procurers, institutions creating innovative solutions in energy consumption and saving, media.
Berlin: Health 2.0 Europe 2011

Date: 27-28 October
Health 2.0 Europe 2011
Berlin: Health 2.0 Europe 2011
The Health 2.0 Conference is the leading showcase of cutting-edge technologies in healthcare, including Online Communities, Search and lightweight Tools for consumers to manage their health and connect to providers online.

Key topics: Patient and physician social networks; Communities and data production; Consumer and provider tools; Health promotion, behaviour change and Wellness 2.0; Health 2.0 financing; Cloud computing and unplatforms.
More info
Berlin: Environment and Public Health Annual Meeting

Date: 7-9 November 2011
Annual Meeting of the Environment and Public Health
Main topics include: Disease and environment, foetal and early childhood development, indoor air quality and pollution, (nano) particles, health and disease.
Call for papers: Deadline 15th September. Call for abstracts/poster: Deadline 1st October.
More info
London, BMJ: Health and Security Perspectives of Climate Change

Date: 17 October 2011
Climate change is the greatest current threat to public health. This is the view shared by a growing number of the world's health professionals. Less well known is the view of leading military experts – those working to prevent and manage conflicts around the world: that climate change is also the greatest future threat to security.
Who should attend?: Political decision makers, policy analysts, the business community, and health and military professionals in the UK and internationally. We also welcome researchers, campaigners and general media.
Organisers: Medical British Journal
More info
Chemicals in Focus
European Chemicals Agency to Propose 20 New Substances of Very High Concern
European Chemicals Agency to Propose 20 New Substances of Very High Concern
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has this week published proposals to identify 20 chemicals as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) and thus as possible candidates for authorisation. From the last publication six months ago, the number of dossiers has more than doubled. The detailed proposals are available on the ECHA website. Interested parties are invited to comment on the proposals by 13 October 2011.  more  
EU Tightens Rules on Unsafe Children's Toys, Targeting Phthalates
The new rules specifically target toys that contain phthalates, a plastic softening chemical that has been linked to hormone disruption in children. They also target flame retardants in some toys, which the European Commission says may hinder a child's growth and permanently damage their endocrine system. Surveillance at EU borders and within the 27 member state bloc will be tightened, and manufacturers, importers and distributors will be responsible for identifying hazards and potential exposure to children.  more  
EU Prepares To Re-open REACH Regulation
EU Prepares To Re-open REACH Regulation
Five years after its adoption, the European Commission is preparing to review the REACH regulation, which requires chemical manufacturers to register and justify that their products are safe.

Read a longer article on the next steps at the Euroactiv website.

Contact us if you want to get involved in the review process.
Assessing Risk Posed by Chemicals in Mixtures
Mixture effects are nothing new in toxicology, where it is known that the total toxicity of a mixture of chemicals can exceed the toxicity of its most toxic component. For example, asbestos and tobacco are more toxic in combination than they are independently of one another. In spite of this being well-understood, however, chemicals are currently only assessed for toxicity on an individual basis. Even multiple exposure routes to the same chemical are barely considered; the effects chemicals may have in combination with each other are not considered at all.  Read full article from Health Environment plus expert commentary from Dr Kristian Syberg, Roskilde University, Denmark.
New Publications
New WHO Report on Pharmaceuticals in Drinking-water
New WHO Report on Pharmaceuticals in Drinking-water
Trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals reported in drinking-water have raised concerns over the potential health risks they may pose. This WHO technical report takes into consideration the available scientific knowledge and evidence that support the management of such concerns. It emphasizes the need to consider this emerging issue in the overall context of water safety management where chemical and pathogenic microbial risks are often overriding concerns. Current evidence suggests that exposure to very low levels of pharmaceuticals in drinking-water is unlikely to result in appreciable risks to human health and corrective measures are not necessary.  read the report.
Coming up! Sustainable Development Virtuous Practices in Healthcare
Coming up! Sustainable Development Virtuous Practices in Healthcare
The international edition of the C2DS Sustainable Healthcare Guide will come out in November 2011!

This guide written in English will be the third edition of the C2DS's guides series on the subject.

The guide is a compilation of the best initiatives and practices from France, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, United-Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, USA, Canada...
Members News
EU Project for PVC Free Blood Bags Approved
EU Project for PVC Free Blood Bags Approved
The EU environmental program Life+ has awarded a grant to two of HCWH's Swedish members: the Jegrelius institute for Applied Green Chemistry, in cooperation with Karolinska University Hospital and four European companies and for a PVC-free blood bag project.

The project's title is "Public healthcare and plastic makers demonstrate how to remove barriers to PVC-free blood bags in the spirit of REACH" and it will run for four years, starting in the autumn of 2011. Its purpose is to cooperate on the removal of barriers to a PVC-free blood bag.  more
Institute for Sustainable Healthcare (INGES)
6th June: INGES hosted the conference "(Nano–)Silver in Medical and Consumer Products – Miracle Drug Against Germs Or Threat For Our Health and Environment?"

Organisers: INGES, Vienna, HCWH Europe and the Department of Clinical Microbiology, University Hospital Uppsala, Sweden.

Recently a new property of silver has gained interest: Silver is killing bacteria. Silver in cleaning agents keeps your households free from germs. Silver in cosmetic articles serves as a preservative. Silver in textiles promises to prevent odour caused by sweating. Silver in refrigerators protects your food. But silver reacts as most biocides: it is killing various germs – not differentiating between good and bad ones. Every year in EU countries estimated about 25,000 people are dying from severe infections caused by resistant bacteria obtained in healthcare facilities. Even so the use of silver and other biocides is increasing more and more. Karolinska University Hospital and four European companies and for a PVC-free blood bag project.  read full conference
Committee for Sustainable Development in Healthcare (C2DS)
Phthalates and parabens in healthcare : a conference to make a difference
Phthalates and parabens in healthcare : a conference to make a difference
July 20th: C2DS organised a press conference, following the French National Assembly's vote of a bill on May 3rd 2011, forbidding production, sale, importation and offer of products containing Phthalates and parabens. 15 journalists, the nation's number one radio station and second biggest weekly newspaper were there to promote the issue.

Presentations were given by:
  • Markus HEDENMARK, a Swedish toxicologist, founder of the independent label "ecoprofits"
  • Pr. Andreas LISCHKA, an Austrian specialist in pediatrics and children neurology in the clinic for children of Glanzing
  • Juan Antoni ORTEGA GARCIA, pediatrics environment team director at the Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Arrixava in Spain, who gave an account of regional efforts to eliminate these products in healthcare institutions.

July 12th: C2DS's self-diagnostic tool: sustainable development index in healthcare (Indice de Développement Durable SantÉ, IDD) has reached its 800th subscriber! Hospital institutions should not hesitate to subscribe on the C2DS's website.

C2DS's members meet in Barcelona!

Sept 15-16: C2DS is organising its Summer University in Barcelona. French hospital complexes will meet their Spanish counterparts to share experiences and create synergies around sustainable development. A focus will be made on economic aspects and the project supported by the C2DS : the creation of a Healthcare Index in France (Indice Santé Hospitalier, ISH), similar to those which already exist for consumption and construction.   more

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