RIVM: many more pathogenic substances in the air than Tata Steel says

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RIVM: many more pathogenic substances in the air than Tata Steel says

“It is a big and remarkable difference,” says researcher Janneke Elberse of the RIVM. The ‘gap’ between expected and measured concentrations is mainly visible in metals and PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Copper is found up to fifty times more often by monitoring stations, and carcinogenic PAHs are even up to a factor of a thousand more often.

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The RIVM does not therefore state that Tata, consciously or unconsciously, reports incorrect data in its mandatory emission registration. “We do not know whether Tata’s annual environmental reports are correct. This also says nothing about whether the steel company complies with legal obligations,” says Elberse. It is certain, according to RIVM, that the majority of those extra measured substances must come from the steel industry.

Incidents

One possible explanation is that Tata’s actual emissions are indeed higher than the company estimates and states. But there are more options, says the RIVM expert. Incidents can thus have a greater effect than expected. Other companies on the site, such as Harsco Metals and Pelt & Hooykaas, can also be sources. A combination is also possible.

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Besides steel production, there is no other possible source for the high concentrations of hazardous substances around the IJmond. Paks are released from the production of coke in the steel making process. They also reach the air by blowing mountains of coal. According to RIVM, sources for the hazardous metals are the production of coke, pellets and sintered ore.

The uncertain situation is problematic. Elberse: “If you want to push the buttons to reduce these dangerous emissions, you first have to know what the exact sources are. So we don’t know that now.” Residents in Wijk aan Zee, Beverwijk and Velsen can only be protected from further health risks if the emissions of pathogenic substances can actually be reduced.

new thump

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The demonstrated gap between registered emissions and measured substances represents a new blow for the former Hoogovens. Previous studies by the RIVM have already stated that general practitioners in the IJmond report more acute health complaints than elsewhere in the Netherlands. These include coughing, stinging eyes, tightness of the chest and chest pain.

Last September, RIVM also concluded that the emissions of carcinogenic substances such as lead and PAHs are a cause for concern. They not only float in the air, but also settle as black deposits on window frames and playground equipment. The RIVM considers the exposure of children under the age of 12 in the area to these metals and paks to be particularly undesirable. Finally, figures from the Integral Cancer Institute of the Netherlands showed that lung cancer is up to 51 percent more common than average.

The new study saddles the clients of the report, the municipalities in the IJmond and the province of North Holland, with homework. RIVM recommends that the province ‘improve the information about emissions from sources on the Tata Steel site and make it available in a transparent manner’. The province should also keep a closer eye on whether the concentrations of pathogenic substances are actually decreasing.

Lawsuits

There is also a chance that the judge will put an end to the activities of the steel company. A series of lawsuits are now pending against the company. Lawyer Bénédicte Ficq filed a complaint against ‘criminal air pollution’ on behalf of 1250 local residents. Environmental organization MOB demands from the court that the permit for the Nature Conservation Act be annulled because the company has not done anything for twenty years to reduce nitrogen emissions.

Tata Steel director Hans van den Berg has said the company has started improvements ‘too late’. The company wants to replace the coal in the production process with hydrogen, which can remove a significant part of the air pollution and CO2 emissions. Next week, the House of Representatives will discuss those plans and the health situation surrounding Tata Steel.

RIVM: many more pathogenic substances in the air than Tata Steel says | News
Source link RIVM: many more pathogenic substances in the air than Tata Steel says | News

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