It would have been better if earlier research had been done into the graphite rains around the blast furnaces of Tata Steel in IJmuiden. That said State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven (Infrastructure and Water Management) in the Lower House on Wednesday.
"We take the matter very seriously," says Van Veldhoven.
The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) published a report on Tuesday that shows that the rains contain an undesirable amount of metal lead, manganese and vanadium for young children. That report came at the request of the province of Noord-Holland.
The first results show that children in the environment are exposed to "undesirable" concentrations of lead, manganese and vanadium due to the so-called graphite rains. Especially small children who play outside can be exposed to it.
They must wash their hands well and RIVM advises to keep playground equipment clean.
Many parties are very concerned
"Safety must be paramount", says State Secretary Van Veldhoven. "This substance emission is not acceptable." She was in direct contact with the provincial government after the report. According to her, that will immediately take steps to stop the graphite rains. She remains in close contact with the province on the matter.
Many parties in the Chamber are concerned about the graphite rains. "We cannot accept this," said Jessica van Eijs (D66). Suzanne Kröger from GroenLinks wondered "when the size is full". According to her, Tata Steel could have taken measures much earlier.
Tata Steel has already received a series of periodic penalty payments for nuisance
Tata Steel has already had to pay a series of periodic penalty payments because there was no end to the nuisance. The penalties imposed by the province are far too low, said Frank Wassenberg (Party for the Animals). According to the State Secretary, they have had "some effect", but they were not sufficiently effective. The periodic penalty payments can be even higher, she added.
The RIVM report is an interim report. The final document will be published next month.
Provincial States also require clarification from the company
The Provincial States in North Holland also require clarification about the emission of dust clouds containing heavy metals from the Tata Steel site in IJmuiden. The members of Parliament are concerned about a study published Tuesday by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).
Residents of municipalities in the smoke of Tata Steel in IJmuiden urgently want more information about possible health risks.
"We would like to see the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM, ed.) Do a lot of research," says Ellen Windemuth, chairman of the IJmondig foundation.
According to Windemuth, many questions are still unanswered. "What are the consequences for adults? And now we know about the graphite rains, but what about the composition of the particulate matter that Tata emits? Is there an increased risk of cancer?"
Immediate measures taken by Tata Steel
Tata Steel reported on Tuesday to take immediate measures to prevent new graphite rains. The construction of a new factory hall, which will be ready next year, must solve the problem definitively.
The company will present an extensive package of improvement plans on Thursday, with which the company wants to reduce the inconvenience to local residents.
- Want to know what you missed at night? And an update on the most important news around lunch? Subscribe now to our daily newsletter!