Three-year "Action Programme Environment and Health"

Joint press release of the Federal Institute for Radiation Protection, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the Robert Koch Institute and the Federal Environmental Agency

Pollutants in the air, impurities in drinking water or excessive noise can considerably impair the health and well-being of people. The "Action Programme Environment and Health" (APUG) submitted jointly in June 1999 by the Federal Ministry of the Environment (BMU) and the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) laid out, for the first time in Germany, strategies, measures and objectives for the comprehensive tackling of the health consequences of environmental influences. Four federal authorities are involved in the scientific implementation of the programme. The results are compiled in the volume "Action Programme Environment and Health: Status Report: 1999-2002".

The report gives an overview of the implementation of the objectives and cross-sectional measures of the Action Programme. It also contains a description of the research projects which have been launched and, in some cases, already concluded. Furthermore, the report covers the symposium "Shaping the Environment and Health: 3-Year Action Programme - Stocktaking and Perspectives", which was held last summer in Berlin.

The public authorities involved in the Action Programme have focussed on different activities. For instance, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) successfully concluded the one-year pilot phase of a study on the state of health of children and young people - the “Children and Youth Study”. Approximately 20,000 children from all over the country are to be involved in the main phase from mid 2003 to 2006. The contribution of the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) to this study is an environmental survey. Furthermore, a committee "Methods and Quality Assurance in Environmental Medicine" was set up in RKI. It is to record and assess the procedures currently used in environmental medicine.

Within the framework of APUG, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), formerly the Federal Institute for Health Protection of Consumers and Veterinary Medicine (BgVV), has addressed questions of early risk detection and risk communication. In various research projects, the Institute examined for instance the contamination of human breast milk with residues from flame-proofing agents. The Federal Institute also focussed on the effects of pollutants on the development of the immune system in children.

The Federal Institute for Radiation Protection (BfS) coordinates the work of the Risk Committee set up by BMU and BMG. Its tasks include:

  • rendering the current procedures for risk assessment and setting of standards more transparent,

  • making recommendations on the restructuring of the advisory and decision-making bodies involved and

  • anchoring environmental health protection in the awareness of a wider public.

Furthermore, BfS organised the forum "Children, Environment and Health" in November 2001.

UBA is involved in the Action Programme through numerous research projects on environmental influences on man like, for instance, noise, mould, plant protection products or climate change. The secretariat of the APUG coordination group is also based in UBA.

The status report contains references and sources for previous final reports. It also gives Internet links to seminar proceedings and contacts for further information. An APUG project overview and a list of participants are attached as an annex.

The status report is available free-of-charge (in German) from the secretariat of the APUG coordination group (c/o Umweltbundesamt, FG II 2.1, Astrid Michaelis, Postfach 33 00 22, 14191 Berlin, Tel.: 030/8903-1313, e-mail: It can be accessed on the Internet on / section Neuigkeiten.

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