Tata Steel’s name intentionally withheld from report: GGD
The GGD Kennemerland said it was a conscious decision to not mention Tata Steel’s name in a report on lung cancer in the region of Beverwijk and the surrounding area, NOS reported. According to the health organization, the possible cause for the above average number of lung cancer cases has not been determined.
The Noordhollandse Dagblad reported on Saturday that the director of GGD Kennemerland, Bert van de Velden, intentionally removed Tata Steel’s name from the final version. The steel manufacturer’s name appeared draft versions of the report but was absent from the final document.
Tata Steel is the main source of air pollution in the region.
In a statement, the GGD said they “regrets” that names were mentioned in the draft version as to the possible causes of lung cancer. “Certainly, there needs to be clarity about the origin of the concentrated increase in the number of lung cancer cases. In the report, it was also suggested to the municipalities to conduct further research into the cause.”
Investigative journalist, Bart Vuijk, from the Noordhollands Dagbald who uncovered the discrepancies said he finds the defense “strange”. Vuijk uncovered 345 pages of emails and Whatsapp messages from GGD employees. “Tata is mentioned 70 times mostly in the context of ‘how do we keep Tata out of this report’”, he said. “That was a direct order from the director. It was literally stated a few times.”
Van de Velden acknowledged that Tata Steel’s name was swept from the report but said the term was not used because it needed to be “aligned with the design of the inventory”.
Lung and skin cancer are found more often in residents of Haarlem and IJmond region than is the national average. People in Kennmerland are 25 percent more likely to get lung cancer than people on average elsewhere in the Netherlands.
Tata Steel has stated earlier that it was in no way involved in the preparation of the report. “We respect independent research. It would be weird if we wanted to influence that”, a Tata Steel spokesperson said.