Defense continue using toxic paint; MPs balk

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. Jeanine Hennis-Passchaert

The Ministry of Defense is not willing to stop using the carcinogenic chromium 6 paint as the SP is asking. Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said this in the Tweede Kamer (lower house of parliament) yesterday, NRC reports. The toxic paint is still being used at 10 locations.

The Ministry will continue to use the chromium 6 paint because there is currently no alternative, Hennis told the Tweede Kamer. To stop using it would mean that the F-16's can not be used as they will not be sufficiently protected against rust. According to the minister, the risks are being minimized.  People working with chromium 6 paint have to wear protective clothing and the area must be well ventilated. Hennis also pointed out that Defense is not the only organization in the Netherlands that works with hazardous substances.

It is not only the SP that is worried about the continuous use of the carcinogenic paint. "I wonder whether the Minister has enough control here." PVV parliamentarian Raymond de Roon said. Wassila Hachch (D66) called Defense's approach to the use of the paint "casual".

But despite these concerns, it seems that the SP requested moratorium on the use of the paint will not get a majority. The VVD and PvdA will vote against the notion, NOS reports.

Up to date 1,600 (former) Defense employees have reported at a special reporting point for people who worked with the carcinogenic substance. More than 400 of them are suffering from medical problems. Hennis has made an agreement with the military unions that some of these employees can get a while the RIVM investigation is still ongoing.

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