Groningen strives to become first Dutch cigarette smoke free city

Groningen strives to become first Dutch cigarette smoke free city

Lobby groups, local government sports clubs, schools and health experts have launched a campaign to make Groningen the Netherlands first smoke-free city. The project, partly developed by addiction specialist Robert van de Graaf, aims to end smoking in more places throughout the city, including hospitals, playgrounds and schools. 'Second hand smoke is dangerous but so is seeing people smoke,' Van der Graaf told broadcaster NOS. 'We often don't realise that children can become addicted by seeing others smoke because they think it is normal behaviour.' Around 25% of the Dutch population currently smokes and 810,000 children grow up in a family with at least one smoking adult, Van der Graaf says. From this summer smoking will be banned through Groningen's university buildings and the teaching hospital will be completely smoke from from 2019. The organisations supporting the move signed the covenant to ensure children grow up in a smoke free environment in April.  More >



Chemours plant pollution more widespread

Groningen strives to become first Dutch cigarette smoke free city People living near the Chemours chemical factory in Dordrecht have been advised not to eat fruit or vegetables from their own gardens because the ground may be polluted, the Volkskrant said on Friday. Toxicologists from Amsterdam’s VU University say the area around the Teflon factory is far more seriously contaminated with the toxic chemical GenX than had been believed. The scientists reached their conclusions after analysing samples of soil and vegetable matter growing near the factory. They found the concentrations of GenX in the leaves of plants and the grass in a radius of more than a kilometre around the plant to be so high that there is a possible risk to public health. The carcinogenic perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, also known as C8), which was used in to make Teflon prior to 2012, has also been found in plants and trees in far higher concentrations than expected. ‘Because grass and leaves die and are mown you would only expect to find low concentrations of PFOA concentrations after five years,’ toxicologist Jacob de Boer told the paper. Vegetables Martin van den Berg, a toxicologist at the University of Utrecht says people living near the plant should stop eating produce from their gardens and the government should carry out further analysis as soon as possible to find out how great the risk is to public health. ‘The poison is not only in the leaves but in the entire crop, because the plant also absorbs contaminated water through the roots,’ he told the Volkskrant. Last weekend the AD reported that GenX had been identified in tap water in at least six places in Zuid Holland province. Permit The company has a permit to pump 6,400 kilos of waste water containing GenX into the river. In April, the AD reported that officials want the permit changed to reduce the discharge to 2,000 kilos and then a stop altogether. In May it emerged that blood tests on people living close to the former DuPont chemical plant showed that some have too much C8 in their blood. A Chemours spokesman told the paper that PFOA has not been used at the site in Dordrecht since 2012. The company said ‘further calculations are needed to show that PFOA has been able to reach the grass and the leaves of trees from the earth and the ground water.’  More >


Fewer fatal industrial accidents

Groningen strives to become first Dutch cigarette smoke free city In total, 31 people are known to have died in accidents at work in the first six months of this year, down from 42 in the 2016 first-half, the Telegraaf said on Tuesday, quoting employment ministry inspectors. Of them, seven were employed in the construction sector, making building workers the most vulnerable to a fatal industrial accident. Farm workers accounted for the next highest number of deaths, the paper said. The FNV trade union last year opened a hotline for construction workers to report unsafe practices and more than 100 complaints have so far been made. 'In particular, there are a lot of problems in the scaffolding sector, and that is leading to unsafe situations,' FNV union official Willem Dijkhuizen told the Telegraaf.  More >


GenX found in Zuid Holland tap water

Groningen strives to become first Dutch cigarette smoke free city A majority of MPs say there needs to be nationwide research to find out how much of a potentially carcinogenic chemical known as GenX is in Dutch tap water, the AD said on Monday. MPs from across the political spectrum have been shocked by research showing the chemical is present in tap water in at least six places in Zuid-Holland province, where a factory using the chemical is located, the paper said. Although the water is still considered safe, MPs say there needs to be proper research into the scale of the problem. 'Dangerous substances should never end up in drinking water,' SP parliamentarian  Cem Laçin told the paper. 'We should look to see if GenX is in drinking water elsewhere. Plus we need money for new investments in purification processes. The pollutor should pay, and that is Chemours.' Teflon GenX is used by the Chemours chemical plant in Dordrecht for the production of the non-stick substance teflon. The AD asked scientists at Amsterdam's VU University to test tap water from homes in Dordrecht, Rotterdam, Gouda, Goeree, Spijkenisse and Alblasserdam. Tiny traces of the chemical were found in all the samples, the paper said. The company has a permit to pump 6,400 kilos of waste water containing GenX into the river. in April, the AD reported that officials want the permit changed to reduce the discharge to 2,000 kilos and then a stop altogether. Carcinogens In May it emerged that blood tests on people living close to the former DuPont chemical plant showed that some have too much of another toxic chemical, C8, in their blood. C8 was used in the production of Telfon until 2012 when it was replaced by GenX.  More >


Dutchman at centre of horse meat scandal

Groningen strives to become first Dutch cigarette smoke free city A Dutch national is one of dozens of people arrested in connection with a Europe-wide investigation into the sale of horse meat which was unfit for human consumption, European police organisation Europol said at the weekend. The businessman, identified in the Dutch media as 67-year-old Jan Fasen from Breda, was found to be in Alicante, Spain where, Europol says, he 'led the activities of the organisation, putting his most trusted men in charge in every country affected by the scam'. In Spain itself, 65 people were arrested and charged with crimes such as animal abuse, document forgery, perverting the course of justice, crimes against public health, money laundering and being part of a criminal organisation, Europol said in a statement. The Dutchman was arrested in Belgium in April, and police also carried out raids in France, Portugal, Italy, Romania, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. According to the Financieele Dagblad, Fasen has an earlier conviction for selling cheap Argentine horse meat to Muslims as halal beef. His company was also implicated in another scandal surrounding horse meat.  More >