GGD Kennemerland said it was a conscious decision not to mention Tata Steel’s name in a report on lung cancer in the Beverwijk and surrounding area, NOS reported. According to the health organization, the possible cause of the above-average number of lung cancer cases has not been determined.
Noordhollandse Dagblad reported on Saturday that GGD Kennemerland director Bert van de Velden had intentionally removed the Tata Steel name from the final version. The name of the steel maker was included in the drafts of the report, but was absent from the final document.
Tata Steel is the main source of air pollution in the region.
In a statement, the GGD said it “regrets” that names were mentioned in the draft as to possible causes of lung cancer. “Of course, we need to clarify the origin of the concentrated increase in the number of cases of lung cancer. In the report, it was also suggested that municipalities conduct more research into the cause. “
Investigative reporter Bart Vuijk of Noordhollands Dagbald, who uncovered the discrepancies, said he found the defense “strange”. Vuijk discovered 345 pages of emails and Whatsapp messages from GGD employees. “Tata is mentioned 70 times mainly in the context of ‘how can we keep Tata out of this report’,” he said. “It was a direct order from the director. It has been said literally many times.
Van de Velden acknowledged that the name of Tata Steel had been swept from the report, but said the term was not used because it had to be “aligned with the design of the inventory”.
Lung and skin cancers are more common among residents of the Haarlem and IJmond area than the national average. The residents of Kennmerland are 25 percent more likely to get lung cancer than the average people elsewhere in the Netherlands.
Tata Steel said earlier that she was in no way involved in the preparation of the report. “We respect independent research. It would be weird if we wanted to influence that, ”said a spokesperson for Tata Steel.