European Union: European Commission launches Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010

Last Updated: 1 December 2004
Article by Jackie Pigott


On 9 June 2004 the European Commission launched the European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010 (the "Action Plan"), an initiative to address health problems related to pollution in the environment. The Action Plan was the Commission's main contribution to the WHO Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health which took place in Budapest in June 2004. That conference focussed on children under the theme "The future for our children".

The Action Plan has been developed to give the EU the scientifically grounded information needed to help Member States reduce the adverse health effects of certain environmental factors and to promote better co-operation between the environment, health and research sectors at EU and national level. It identifies 13 actions, which include initiatives on how to better understand the link between the environment and health, and to establish how environmental exposure leads to epidemiological effects. It also focuses on research activities, for example in the areas of asthma/allergy, neuro-developmental disorders, cancers and endocrine disrupting effects. It calls for schemes to raise awareness of the risks affecting the public, and the training of professionals in environment and health issues. It also looks at the feasibility of human biomonitoring (monitoring of blood, urine and hair samples to measure exposure to environmental pollutants) at European level.


The effect of the environment on human health is significant. According to recent estimates approximately 25 - 33% of diseases worldwide are linked to environmental factors. The equivalent figure for industrialised economies such as the US and Europe is around 15%1.1 One sixth of the total number of cases of death and disease for children can be attributed to environmental factors.2 Furthermore, the recent European Environment Agency's assessment of the state of the environment in Europe reports that it is estimated that in large European cities, approximately 60,000 deaths per year are caused by long-term exposure to air pollution. Much remains to be discovered about the link between the environment and health. The Action Plan aims to fill this knowledge gap and pave the ground for new policy initiatives.


The Action Plan can be summarised as follows.

1. IMPROVE THE INFORMATION CHAIN by developing integrated environment and health information to understand the links between sources of pollutants and health effects

  • Action 1: Develop environmental health indicators
  • Action 2: Develop integrated monitoring of the environment, including food, to allow the determination of relevant human exposure
  • Action 3: Develop a coherent approach to biomonitoring in Europe
  • Action 4: Enhance coordination and joint activities on environment and health

2. FILL THE KNOWLEDGE GAP by strengthening research on environment and health and identifying emerging issues

  • Action 5: Integrate and strengthen European environment and health research
  • Action 6: Target research on diseases, disorders and exposures
  • Action 7: Develop methodological systems to analyse interactions between environment and health
  • Action 8: Ensure that potential hazards on environment and health are identified and addressed

3. RESPONSE: REVIEW POLICIES AND IMPROVE COMMUNICATION By developing Awareness Raising, Risk Communication, Training & Education to give citizens the information they need to make better health choices, and to make sure that professionals in each field are alert to environment and health interactions

  • Action 9: Develop public health activities and networking on environmental health determinants through the public health programme
  • Action 10: Promote training of professionals and improve organisational capacity in environment and health by reviewing and adjusting risk reduction policy

By reviewing and adjusting risk reduction policy

  • Action 11: Coordinate ongoing risk reduction measures on the priority diseases
  • Action 12: Improve indoor air quality
  • Action 13: Follow developments regarding electromagnetic fields (EMF)


Issues relating to children are addressed throughout the Action Plan. A number of major child health issues are to be covered in the monitoring, including exposure to the environmental stressors to which children are particularly sensitive.


The Action Plan will be implemented by the Commission in close cooperation with Member States, stakeholder groups such as industry, and international organisations, such as the WHO and United Nations bodies. The Commission will use the information obtained as a result of its 13 actions to review the effectiveness of current policies in improving health. Interim and final reports on the Action Plan in 2007 and 2010 respectively will report on progress.


The ultimate objectives of the Action Plan are to:

  • reduce the burden of disease caused by environmental factors in the EU
  • identify and prevent new health threats caused by environmental factors
  • strengthen EU capacity for policy-making in this area Further information can be found at


1. Smith, K et al. "How much global ill health is attributable to environmental factors?", Epidemiology 1999, pp 573 - 584.

2. Burden of Disease and Injuries Attributable to Selected Environmental Factors among Europe's Children and Adolescents, Francesca Valent, D'Anna Little, Fabio Barbone, Giorgio Tamburlini; WHO, Geneva 2004 (in press).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions