The healthy life years in 2011 were 62 years in the EU, for both women and men

According to Eurostat, the figures for 2011 show that both women and men could expect at birth to live 62 years in a healthy condition and nine additional years at the age of 65 in the EU. In Sweden and Malta could expect to live more than 70 years in good health.

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A Commission's report shows the improvement of the protection from second hand smoke in the EU in 2012

The European Commission published a report that shows that in 2012 in 28% of Europeans were exposed to second hand smoke in bars in 2012 – down from 46% in 2009. In addition, the report dispels concerns about smoking bans impacting negatively on the revenues of bars and restaurants, by showing that the economic impact has been limited, neutral and even positive over time.

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The use of chemicals in Europe has become considerably safer since the REACH regulation entered into force

According to European Commission's report, risks from substances registered under REACH have significantly decreased. Companies have now registered 30,601 files with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) describing the uses and properties of 7,884 chemical substances manufactured or placed on the market.

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The Right2Water European Citizens' initiative obtains 1 million signatures

According to the European Commission, organisers of the Right2Water initiative have announced that they have collected more than one million signatures. This means that it could be the first European Citizens' Initiative to succeed in collecting the necessary number of statements of support. This initiative seeks to invite the European Commission to 'propose legislation implementing the human right to water and sanitation as recognised by the United Nations, and promoting the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all'.

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MEPs endorsed a proposal to tone down harmful traffic noise

The European Parliament approved a proposal to protect public health through the tightening of noise limits for cars. MEPs also recommended introducing labels to inform consumers about new cars' noise levels and adding sound to hybrid and electric vehicles to alert pedestrians.

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The Commission wants to ban the amphetamine-like drug 4-MA

The European Commission proposed an EU-wide ban on 4-methylamphetamine – or 4-MA, a synthetic substance with similar physical effects to amphetamines. According to the Commission, this drug has been associated with 21 deaths in four EU countries in 2010-2012 alone.

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Ozone pollution still exceeded target levels in Europe during summer 2012

A report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that during summer 2012, the percentage of sites exceeding the ‘alert threshold’ was the lowest on record, indicating peak episodes were shorter and maximum ozone concentrations were lower. However, a new report published by the World Health Organization suggests that ozone exposure may be more harmful than previously thought.

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World Cancer Day 2013: the European Commission is developing a harmonised cancer information system for Europe

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission strongly supports the development of a harmonised cancer information system for Europe and the improvement of breast cancer services and screening guidelines. This announcement was made on the World Cancer Day 2013 which intends to raise collective awareness and improve general knowledge around and about cancer.

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€185 million from EU funds to improve health services and support farmers in Afghanistan

The European Commission and Afghan Minister of Finance, Omar Zakhilwal, will sign two financing agreements worth €185 million to support new programmes in health and agriculture on 28 of January.

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New global agreement to address the global threat posed to human health and the environment by mercury

The European Commission welcomed the successful conclusion of the multilateral negotiations to tackle mercury. According to Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment, the new Treaty will bring benefits to all populations around the world, including the citizens of the EU given the long distances that mercury can travel in the air.

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