Thousands of Defense workers sue Dutch gov't over toxic paint

At least 3 thousand Defense employees and former employees at sites in Eygelshoven and Brunssum are suing the Dutch government for exposing them to toxic chromium-6 paint while knowing that it is dangerous, lawyer Rob Bedaux announced on Wednesday, according to the Volkskrant.

According to the lawyer, the State acted unlawfully because the Ministry of Defense knew that chromium-6 is dangerous, yet still exposed its workers to it. By appealing to the Freedom of Information Act, the lawyer found out that some 1,200 Defense employees have symptoms ranging from rashes to cancer after working with the carcinogenic paint.

The employees were exposed to chromium-6 while painting Defense ecquipment like figter jets. Bedaux calls chromium-6 even more dangerous than asbestos. Chromium-6 can enter the body in three ways - through the skin, by breathing it in and by ingestion. Asbestos mostly only enters the body by breathing it in to the lungs, it is hardly ever absorbed by the skin. 

Defense never admitted guilt, but did set up a compensation scheme last year. Former employees who are sick can get compensation of between 3 thousand and 15 thousand euros. Over 200 employees received compensation so far.