Defence workers made ill by toxic paint will get compensation: minister

defence minister hennisDefence ministry workers who became ill after exposure to dangerous chemicals in paint while at work will get financial compensation from the government, defence minister Jeanine Hennis told parliament on Tuesday.

More than 900 former defence workers have so far come forward with their concerns, of whom 25% say they have health problems. Some are suffering from cancers and auto-immune diseases after using paint containing cancer-causing Chromium 6 in aircraft maintenance.

The compensation will apply to former staff where the link with the paint can be proven and who have been seriously affected. The size of the compensation package was not made public. Hennis told MPs she hopes to have finalised preliminary payments by the end of the year.

The public health institute RIVM is currently investigating the scandal though this process may take a further two years, Hennis said.

The minister also told MPs she had no plans to replace the current head of the defence ministry side of the research project.

Freek Groen was a senior official at the Twente air base from 1984 to 1992 and was responsible for the hanger where fighter jets were painted. Former staff said last week they are astonished that Groen has been put in charge of the task force heading up the investigation.

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