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Press release - February 12th, 2008

European Commission meets worried scientists

Delegates representing two NGOs concerned with public health and the environment met today with Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the European Commission and responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security.

Representatives of the scientific committees of Antidote Europe (France) and Equivita (Italy) brought the following worrying trends to the attention of Mr Frattini:
1. Disturbing European data: 3,2 million new cases of cancer in 2006, an increase of 10% compared with 2004; 1,6 million cancer deaths annually ; 8 million people affected with Alzheimer’s, with 2,5 million new cases each year ; 15% of under-18s suffer from neurological problems.
2. The lack of a clear strategy to try to deal with these diseases through prevention and the questionable outcome of the EU chemicals program (REACH) in its current form. The REACH initiative (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), which entered into force on 1st June 2007, whose aim is to assess the toxic risk of the many thousands of chemicals in our environment, cannot be expected to achieve this result unless it relies on modern scientific methods – rather than continuing to rely on animal experiments - as is currently the case.
3. The under-utilisation of modern scientific methods to replace animal experiments. For example, the powerful science of toxicogenomics, which is barely mentioned in the REACH legislation, and yet strongly encouraged in the US by the prestigious National Research Council. In this respect, Antidote Europe has recently lodged a complaint with the EU ombudsman for not putting these modern tools to work sooner.

Media Contacts :
Antidote Europe : Claude Reiss (33 (0)6 86 30 66 39) ; André Ménache (44 7906 446 889)
Equivita : Fabrizia Pratesi (39.06.3220720 or 39.335.8444949)