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Press release - April 2nd, 2007

Forgotten in the campaign : our health

Antidote Europe's Scientific Committee notes that the subject of health is rarely tackled by the candidates in the presidential election and that the basic questions are still more rarely raised. However, health is our most precious possession and its protection is worthy of serious efforts. These would not necessarily involve more expenditure - quite the contrary!

The questionnaire below was sent to the twelve candidates in the presidential election. One reply has already been received. All the replies will be published on Antidote Europe's internet site.

Antidote Europe is a non-profit-making association set up by researchers from the CNRS working towards better preventive measures in respect of human health.


The health of the French people is in a bad way! For instance:
- Cancer is the main cause of death of those under 65. In 2006, 300,000 new cases were added to the 760,000 that already existed. In the least thirty years, the rate has been increasing by 1.5% per year.
- Neurodegenerative diseases affect 1.5% of the population. In the last thirty years, the rate has been increasing by between 1 and 1.5% per year. In 2006, 165,000 new sufferers were added to the 850,000 persons already suffering from Alzheimer's Disease (which represents 70% of neurodegenerative diseases cases).
- Among children under the age of 15, 1 out of 8 suffers from a mental disorder (autism, anorexy, boulimia, schizophrenia, compulsive obsessional disorders, hyperactivity, etc.) and 1 out of 4 has an allergy.

Main factors responsible:
- Our environment: toxic chemical products, other forms of pollution, risky ways of living...
- Inadequate therapeutic progress.

Do you undertake to stop and reverse these tendencies that are disastrous for us and for the generations to come:

- Through truly scientific biomedical research?
In thirty years, the increase in the expectation of life following a cancer diagnostic can be counted in weeks. There is no effective medication against Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease or multiple sclerosis or to eliminate the AIDS virus from the bodies of those who are sero-positive. In the past thirty years, how many communiqués that triumphantly claimed decisive progress in mice, rats or monkeys have led to nothing where human patients are concerned?
We ask you to promote a form of biomedical research that has no recourse to so-called animal models, since it has been proved that no animal species is a reliable biological model for human beings.

- Through enhanced protection of new-born babies and children?
When children are born they already have an average of ten synthetic chemical substances in their umbilical cord. Food and care products for babies contain pesticides and chemical additives. Weight for weight, children eat, drink and breathe more than adults, thus absorbing more of the chemical substances with which we are surrounded. We call on you to ban pesticides and toxic additives in baby food, to create a "future mother's safety" label to help pregnant women to avoid their being exposed to dangerous substances and to create a "baby's safety" label for toxic indoor household products (and volatile substances in particular).

- Through flawless prevention?
The toxicity of the 100,000 chemical products with which we may be in contact must be scientifically evaluated. More than a million premature deaths annually in Europe could thus be avoided. The European Union (REACH project) is to test a limited number of these products on animals: this is dangerous since a product that is "all right for rats" may prove toxic for us.
We ask you to take action to impose a rigorous evaluation of the toxic risks. Toxicogenomics, a proven method, has already been adopted abroad, is valid for human beings, unfalsifiable, a hundred times faster and a hundred times less expensive than tests on animals.

Scientific progress should benefit human health. Effective prevention of illnesses is possible and should be a priority for any government.