Over 100 Defense workers died from toxic paint: lawyer

An electronic stethoscope
An electronic stethoscope. (Stethoscopes / Wikimedia Commons)

It is possible that over 100 former Defense employees have died as a direct result of working with paint and grit containing the highly toxic and , according to lawyer Rob Bedaux. He is representing around 100 other former Defense employees and will raise this issue in court on Tuesday, the Telegraaf reports.

Bedaux based this statement on a survey his clients carried out by checking on their former colleagues. They all worked at POMS sites in the Netherlands where NATO equipment is stored and maintained. On these grounds employees, among other things blasted army vehicles with grit containing chromium-6. His clients found that 84 of their former colleagues died, mostly from cancer and at a relatively young age of between 50 and 60 years. 

As this small survey was limited to only four of the five POMS sites, the actual number may well be over 100, the lawyer said. 

Chromium-6 is a rust-resistant substance. It is very toxic and carcinogenic. Even breathing in a small amount of this substance can cause health problems, according to the newspaper. It can cause allergic reactions, nosebleeds, skin rashes, ulcers, liver and kidney damage, or even lung cancer. 

The substance particularly poses a danger to people working in the steel and textile industry. Chromium-6 only becomes dangerous when people remove paint containing the substance. Particles can come loose and be breathed in.