Corus steel firm denies cancer connection

19th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

MP claims the steel company in IJmuiden is emitting more pollution than allowed, hence the high occurrence level of lung cancer patients in the area.

19 May 2008

IJMUIDEN - The Dutch Green Left Party wants Environment Minister Jacqueline Kramer to answer questions on the environmental licence issued to the Anglo-Dutch steel company Corus in IJmuiden.

MP Wijnand Duyvendak believes that the licence issued by the province of North Holland permits the company to emit more pollution than allowed under European law. He also believes that the province ignored a recommendation to change the licence.

Last week, a television documentary revealed that children in the seaside town of Wijk aan Zee have levels of chromium in their bodies which are five to 14 times higher than anywhere else in The Netherlands.

Each year, the steel company emits 600 kilograms of chromium, a heavy metal that can cause lung cancer. A toxicologist told the programme that concentrations could be compared to those prevalent in the German Ruhr district and said more research should be done.

At the end of 2007, a health study revealed that the frequency of skin and lung cancer in the vicinity of IJmuiden is higher than in the rest of The Netherlands.

A doctor in Wijk aan Zee reports that half of his patients that have died, died of cancer.

Corus denies that there is a connection between the company and cancer cases in the area. The company says that the number of cancer cases among the male population of the region is not higher than elsewhere in The Netherlands. The steel company admits that a higher than average number of women in the region develop cancer, but blamed the higher incidence on their smoking habits.

In a joint press release, the local councils of Beverwijk, Heemskerk en Velsen as well as the North Holland provincial authorities deny allegations of indifference and undemocratic decision-making process regarding the environmental licence issued to Corus.

They also denied that the licence did not meet EU standards.

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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