Dangerous concentrations of lead have been found in fields close to the the Moerdijk chemicals packaging company which went up in flames last week.
Chemistry professor Jacob de Boer told television programme Nieuwsuur the amount of lead – up to a thousand times the permited level – is ‘extremely worrying’.
Officials have so far maintained there is no danger to human health from soot released in the blaze.
Nevertheless, on Tuesday Breda mayor Peter van der Velden said the plant may have broken its licencing conditions and could be liable.
Van der Velden was speaking on behalf of the public prosecution department and refused to answer any further questions, news agency ANP said.
A department spokesman told ANP officials had carried out searches of the Chemie-Pack offices, and that revealed possible infringements of the licence.
But he too refused to go into further details.
A spokesman for the company also refused to elaborate on the allegations
Meanwhile, it also emerged on Tuesday that cancer-causing dioxins had been found in the soot which had fallen in a 10-mile radius of the blaze. But the concentrations ‘were not unusual’ in the winter, Dordrecht mayor Arno Brok was quoted as saying by Nos tv.
A high concentration of dioxin found in grass growing 3 km from the fire was being looked into, he said.
Nevertheless, previous advice not to eat winter vegetables and to keep children and livestock indoors remains in force, Brok said.
Meanwhile, farmers whose fields are close to the plant are becoming fed up with waiting to find out if they can sell their produce, the Telegraaf reports.
And the uncertainty is damaging the entire sector, as foreign confidence in traditional winter vegetables such as sprouts, leeks and curly kale takes a knock, said a spokesman for the fruit and vegetable marketing board.
Vegetables which have been harvested since the fire are being stored separately pending the outcome of tests.
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