Tata Steel emissions still health risk, particularly for children: report

The Tata Steel plant in IJmuiden is a major source of CO2. Photo: Depositphotos.com
The Tata Steel plant in IJmuiden. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Locals living in the vicinity of the Tata Steel steel works in IJmuiden are still being exposed to dust containing high concentrations of carcinogenic substances, with children in Wijk aan Zee most at risk, public health institute RIVM has found.

High levels of polycarbon-based pollutants and metals, including lead, have once again been found in coarse dust particles deposited in Beverwijk, Velsen-Noord and IJmuiden, and particularly in Wijk aan Zee, the latest of two probes carried by the the public health institute in 2022 has shown.

The results are generally similar to those of a RIVM study in 2020 except for the continued fall in the amount of iron, although that, unlike other metals such as lead and other substances, has never been a direct cause of health problems.

Wijk aan Zee is bearing the brunt of carcinogenic emissions, which the RIVM said is a health hazard ‘particularly for children’.

In a reaction, Tata Steel said the RIVM did not investigate the origin of all the dust particles found and that the health institute had acknowledged that a ‘substantial’ part of the lead, zinc and copper deposits could have come from other sources. This makes it difficult to gauge the effects of the measures taken by the company to reduce emissions.

Tata Steel said its own probes had shown the amount of carcinogenic substances had been halved compared to 2019 and other measures to curb emissions are in the pipeline. ‘We are working hard to limit the impact of out activities but it takes time,’ it said in its statement.

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