In a statement welcoming the vote, the environment ministry yesterday said that the new agency would provide information on the health effects of a range of environmental problems, including fine particulates, dioxins, nitrates, genetically-modified organisms, radon, and glycol ethers. The agency will be jointly supervised by the environment and health ministries
The government launched plans to create an environmental health agency last summer after receiving a report analysing environment-related health issues. Its initiative mirrors growing political pressure around Europe for new approaches, driven by high profile scandals such as BSE, dioxin contamination of animal feed, and chemical contamination of soft drinks.
In its statement, the environment ministry stressed that the creation of the AFSSE would be used by the government to push forward EU discussions on environmental health during its presidency of the Council of Ministers beginning in July. In particular, it said, this meant taking concrete steps to integrate the precautionary principle into all EU decision-making.
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