The European Cancer and Environment Research Institute (ECERI) was established in Brussels, Belgium, on May 18, 2011. The scientific and administrative councils of ECERI comprise representatives from different European Union Member States. Its statutes are comparable to those of ARTAC’s: a research center without walls, a federative institute in the form of a network. ARTAC is dedicated to researching the link between cancer and the environment. Its philosophy is to create a network of research centers which are the best in their specialty. It works with units of INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale) and the CNRS (Centre national de recherche scientifique) and with other research groups from all over Europe and the United States.
The aim of ECERI is to research the medical and scientific links between cancer and other diseases and the environment. It will comprise some 20 research units throughout Europe, representing about 600 researchers. Its principal mission is to: carry out scientific research in cancer prevention, treatment and public health; collect data from around the world concerning research on the links between cancer and the environment with creation of a European database; inform the medico-scientific community, the responsible European institutions, political authorities and the public at large of new discoveries in this field; provide expertise and advice to European institutions and international health organizations such as WHO on current research and propose policy measures; organize international symposiums and training for scientists and medical doctors in the fields of environmental health and medicine. Research will begin at the Institute during the second half of 2012.
One main objective of the Institute is the diffusion in Europe of a new screening test for cancer developed by ARTAC which is to be patented. This major scientific revolution is probably one of the greatest discoveries of the last 25 years in the field of oncology. This is a simple blood test which will allow an individual to know whether he/she develops a cancer. The basis of this test is the result of work realized and coordinated by ARTAC in collaboration with several research units.
ECERI will be scientifically and financially independent. It is this independence which has established the credibility of ARTAC. ECERI will ensure that European financing is not tainted by economic, political or social interests which contradict scientific evidence. Its structure will be apolitical.
In the interview, Prof. Belpomme talked about the loss of independence in science in France due to infiltration of economic and political lobbies. “If the French government established a priori that there is no link between electromagnetic fields and electrosensitivity and that researchers think that there is, the study will not be financed”, he said. “The government does not finance research that might yield results contrary to its policy… At the European level, the hope is that this will be different… In France, there is no environmental policy equal to the challenge health represents.”
France is “bogged down in short-term economic and financial interests.” Economic growth must continue and does not take into account the harm it does to the environment, and ultimately, the effects of pollution on health. Article 5 of the Charter annexed to the French Constitution refers to the principle of precaution in matters related to the environment, but not to health.