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CHILDPROOFs position on EU air quality policy: Worried parents demand clean air for their children

2013: European Year of Air Quality

03.04.2013 |WECF

Copyright picture: Aller Air

CHILDPROOF is an interdisciplinary and informal group of Dutch and Flemish organisations and scientists to protect children’s health. Children are not small adults because their physical development is still in full swing and therefore they are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of the environment on health.

Childproof is of the opinion that measures intervening in society must be adapted to the most vulnerable link in our society, namely children. This vision usually goes hand in hand with the 'design for all' principle: when the weakest link is the benchmark, all other segments of society are also served by this policy. Action to protect children in environmental policy should be prioritised because they have the right to make a healthy start in life. If any, because over 400.000 premature deaths from air pollution in Europe is unacceptable.

The European Union has named 2013 ‘the year of air’. According to CHILDPROOF an important potential milestone to translate the worrying findings of research into policy.

It therefore asks the European Commission to:
  1. To define children, and other vulnerable groups, as a main target in the review of EU Air Quality Policy
  2. Set ambitious air quality standards ensuring that children inhale air which is so low in pollution that it is safe to breathe.
As the European Commission stated at the WHO 5th Ministrial Conference on Environment and Health: "A significant proportion of Europeans suffer from health problems linked to environmental conditions. Vulnerable groups, such as children, pregnant women and socially disadvantaged people are particularly affected. Policy-makers have the responsibility to address this problem. The European Commission will play its part by continuing to focus attention across European Union policies on environmental impacts on health".

WECF supports the position paper issued by CHILDPROOF –a collaborate Initiative to create better health and environmental protection for children- on Air Quality and children’s health.  WECF cooperates with the Flemish Family League (Gezinsbond)  in the Childproof Initiative in which also Belgian consumer organisations and scientists participate.

You can find the position paper here

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