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Focus on Europe

Netherlands: Toxic paint

In the Netherlands about 1,400 military staff have suffered health effects from helping to repair and service old U.S. army tanks and vehicles. It’s emerged that they were exposed to toxic substances at up to 15 times higher than permitted levels.

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Staff who have fallen ill have submitted documentation that they were exposed to highly toxic and carcinogenic chromium VI compounds all the way into the late 1990s. Authorities were aware of the problem, but failed to warn the workers or implement adequate safety measures. The Dutch Minster of Defense has now established a commission to investigate. The military employees are hoping for compensation from the government. About one-third of the employees affected have already fallen ill, and many have died.