Since its inception in 1994, Women’s Healthy Environments Network has been educating the media, policy makers and general public to the fact that environmental health is a key determinant of public health. WHEN actively promotes the primary prevention of environmentally linked health problems such as cancer, asthma, immune system related conditions and others by advocating the reduction of toxic emissions; a shift to safe production models, biological agriculture and lawn care; more efficient, renewable energy sources; affordable public transportation; and more. It draws on and endorses various resources such as The International Joint Commission on the Great Lakes (IJC) biennial reports and the Recommendations of the Ontario Task Force on the Primary Prevention of Cancer (1995) – which call for the use of the precautionary principle, declaring that: “the lack of full scientific certainty shall not be sufficient reason for postponing preventive or remedial measures”.
While WHEN focuses on the primary prevention of women’s reproductive health problems, it also addresses other environmentally linked health issues. One such concern is the impact of hormone disruptors on the health of children and men. Their impact on children can result in learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, birth defects and cancers. Their impact on men may initiate or promote prostate or testicular cancer and lowered sperm counts.
Recognizing that growing numbers of people are calling for clean and safe air, food, water and soil, WHEN routinely organizes and participates on many different levels in a variety of activities. Information is disseminated through workshops, courses, public meetings, conferences, panel discussions, and displays; in various venues such as communities, schools, universities, and workplaces. WHEN works in partnership and collaboration with teachers, students, health professionals, grass root/community groups and other non-profit organizations.
Participation: WHEN has also participated in various events such as Everyday Carcinogens: Stopping Cancer Before It Starts (McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario), the Ontario Breast Cancer Information Exchange Information and Support Think Tank, Green Planks, a panel on the three parties positions on the environment leading up to the provincial election, the Toronto Environmental Fair (Nathan Phillips Square), the primary prevention program of the First and the Second World Conference on Breast Cancer, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Day of Awareness, Toronto, to name a few.