Children in Their Environments: Vulnerable, Valuable and at Risk - The Need for Action

News Published 24 May 2004 Last modified 28 Jun 2016
6 min read
The EEA, in collaboration with WHO/Europe and the Collegium Ramazzini, is organising a science-policy workshop on emerging environmental threats to children on 22 June 2004 in Budapest. The workshop is being held in connection with the WHO's fourth ministerial conference on environment and health, taking place in the Hungarian capital on 23-25 June.

Children in Their Environments:
Vulnerable, Valuable and at Risk - The Need for Action

A one-day Science/Policy Workshop, Budapest, 22 June 2004
Lehár Room
Budapest Congress Centre
Jagelló út 1-3, 1123 Budapest

Background papers including presentations from the workshop may be found in the workshop section of the EEA website.

Note: The registration to the Workshop is closed. Participation in the workshop does not entitle attendance at the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, 23-25 June 2004.

Event: A one-day workshop organised by EEA in collaboration with WHO Regional Office for Europe and the Collegium Ramazzini on the day before the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, Budapest, 23-25 June, 2004.

Objectives: To summarise the science of some emerging environmental hazards to children as a basis for precautionary and preventive actions and to identify elements of the information systems and policy approaches needed to protect children's health.

Timing: 22 June 2004, 09:00-18:00. A press briefing will be held after the workshop at 18.15 in the Mozart Room

Language: English

Chairs: Roberto Bertollini, WHO Regional Office for Europe / David Stanners, EEA

Draft Provisional Agenda

08:00 - 09.00   Registration of participants
09:00 - 09:05   Welcome: Roberto Bertollini, WHO Regional Office for Europe / David Stanners, EEA
09:05 - 09:15   Origins & Objectives of the Day: David Gee, EEA
09:15 - 13:00   Session A: Framing and Identifying some Hazards to Children
09:15 - 09:45   Prof. Phil Landrigan* (Mt Sinai School of Medicine, USA), "Children, Environment and Health 1993-2003: Progress and Challenges for Risk Assessment and Management"
09:45 - 10:15   Prof. Georgio Tamburlini* (Institute for Child Health, Trieste Italy), "Ill Health and Disease in European Children: What role for the Environment?"
10:15 - 10:45   Dr Vyvyan Howard* (Liverpool University, UK), "The Foetal and Early Origins of Childhood Disease"
10:45 - 11:00 Break
11:00 - 11:30   Dr Morando Soffriti* (Collegium Ramazzini, Italy), "Long-term Consequences of Exposure to Carcinogens during Embryo-perinatal life: the Lessons from Animal Bioassays and Epidemiology"
11:30 - 12:00   Prof. Philippe Grandjean* (Institute of Public health, University of Southern Denmark), "Neurodevelopmental disorders in Children: some old and emerging threats"
12:00 - 13:00   Discussion
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 - 16:15   Session B: Monitoring the Health of Children
14:00 - 14:20   Dr Ludwine Casteleyn* (AMINAL, Belgium), "Biomonitoring: Towards More Integrated Approaches"
14:20 - 14:40   Dr Christoph Schlueter* (Federal Environment Agency, Germany) "The German Environmental Specimen Bank as a Tool for the Retrospective Monitoring"
14:40 - 15:00   Prof. David Briggs* (Imperial College London, UK), "Children's Exposures to Environmental Stressors: Getting Closer to Reality?"
15:00 - 15:20   Ms Janina Wuczynska* (Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environment and Health, Poland), "Towards Integrated Environment and Health Monitoring: the Polish Experience"
15:20 - 15:40   Dr Michal Krzyzanowski* (WHO) & Dr David Stanners* (EEA), "Towards more Integrated Monitoring & Assessments of Children's Environments and Health"
15:40 - 16:00   Discussion
16:00 - 18:00   Session C: Actions to protect Children
16:00 - 18:00   Mr Marco Martuzzi* (WHO), "Summary of the WHO Paper on "Dealing with Uncertainty: the Precautionary Principle""
16:10 - 16:20   Dr Joel Tickner* (Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, University of Massachusetts, USA), "Commentary on Recent EU and USA Developments on the Precautionary Principle"
16:20 - 16:35   Ms Joanne Vincenten* (European Child Safety Alliance, The Netherlands), "Children as Agents of Change: 1802-2003"
16:35 - 16:50   Dr Lillian Corra* (INCHES, Argentina), "Building EH professional capacities within paediatrics: lessons from Latin America"
16:50 - 17:05   Mr Prudencio Perera*, (DG ENV), "INSPIRE: a tool for the improved assessment of environmental exposures and diseases"
17:05 - 18:00   Panel Discussion (WHO, EU, CEFIC, EEA, NGOs,...)
* speaker has accepted.

Explanatory Notes to the Provisional Agenda

Origins and objectives of the day

“To summarise the science of some emerging environmental hazards to children as a basis for precautionary and preventive actions and to identify elements of the information systems and policy approaches needed to protect children’s health.”

David Gee, author of “Children in Their Environments: Vulnerable, Valuable and at Risk” (EEA, 1999) which was produced for the third WHO Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, London, 1999, will briefly illustrate (a) the relevance and implications of the multi-causality involved in the links between children’s environments and their health and (b) the need for innovative policy measures to protect children, including the prevention and precautionary principles.

Session A. Framing and Identification of Some Hazards to Children

In 1993 the National Academy of Sciences in the US published a report on Children and Pesticides which initiated the current focus on the links between children’s health and their environments. The Chair of the Committee which produced the report was Prof Philip Landrigan. He will open the first session of the day with a scientific review of the science and policy actions since 1993.

During this session speakers will address such questions as:

• What are the implications for conventional risk assessments of mixtures; the timing of the dose; cumulative exposures; and the particular vulnerability of children (defined as foetus to 18)?
• In a multi causal world where children’s ill health often results from combinations of genetics, host conditions and environmental stressors, what proportion of morbidity and mortality can be attributed to the environment?
• What do we know, or suspect, about the foetal origins of the childhood and adult diseases that are linked to environmental stressors, and what could be the main mechanisms of action?
• Given the long periods between first exposure to environmental stressors and many diseases, what can we learn from animal experiments that can help us to identify and control hazards without waiting for the current experiments with our children to produce evidence of harm? What other kinds of evidence, or improved experimental methods, could be used to minimise the use of experimental animals?
• The mad-hatters tea party in “Alice in Wonderland” is named after the “mad” hat-makers of the 19th century who were poisoned by the mercury used in their jobs. What are the new and emerging threats to children’s neurodevelopment and how successfully have we dealt with “old” threats such as mercury and lead?

Session B. Monitoring the Health of Children

Data collection and indicator systems for public health and the environment have mainly lived in separate worlds but after several years of development the first stages of a common information and indicator system have been piloted in some European countries.

Speakers will address such questions as:

• What are the respective roles of indicators, monitoring and research in identifying and managing environmental impacts?
• How can the embryonic Environment and Health Information Systems of WHO/EU member countries be improved and integrated into a European System?
• How can patterns in the geographical distribution of environmental exposures and diseases be linked by improved spatial assessments?
• What has been the experience of one new EU member country (Poland) in implementing the monitoring and information sections of the NEHAP and what are the lessons that can be applied to the implementation of the CEHAPE?
• How can integrated monitoring of exposures and assessments be achieved in a compartmentalised world?

Session C. Actions to Protect Children

The focus of the fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health “The Future for our Children ”, 23-25 June, Budapest will be on action, following the identification of the issue at the 1999 Conference. Much of the Ministerial Agenda will be about the Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE). Session C will look briefly at some elements involved in implementing policies to protect children’s health, including the precautionary principle; children as agents for change; and awareness raising within the paediatric profession.

Speakers will address such questions as:

• Why do children particularly need the precautionary principle?
• How can risk, uncertainties and ignorance be better managed?
• What role have children played as change agents in the development and implementation of occupational and public health policies over the last 200 years and what lessons from the past can be applied to the current and future actions to protect children’s health?
• How can the paediatricians and other child focused professions play a bigger role in protecting children from environmental hazards, especially in the new EU member countries?


The day will conclude with a panel discussion of stakeholders focussing on key issues arising from the presentations and discussions of the day.

Contact person at the EEA is Angela Sochirca ( The deadline for registration is 28 May 2004.

The Registration Form (  22 Kb) for the workshop is available on the EEA website.

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