Throughout the Defence Organization, staff have been at risk for decades of exposure to the carcinogen chrome-6 in paint. The army leadership, especially in the 70s and 80s, failed to adequately protect them. From the 90s, the situation became better, although not everywhere.
This is evident from additional research by RIVM, which relies on information from 1573 (former) employees at 229 locations. According to the research, which has been worked on for seven years, exposure to the toxic chromium-6 can cause lung cancer and lung problems.
For all Defence components, the RIVM allowed exposure to chrome-6. This also applies to staff who would not be expected to do so immediately, such as drivers who helped colleagues.
Theo Even has an autoimmune disease. His ailments are the result of working for years with Chrome 6 at Twente Air Base, where he sanded and painted fighters of Defense:
Apologies Secretary of State
Three years ago, the RIVM concluded in a first report that Defence is responsible for the health complaints suffered by employees, including the painting and sanding of equipment. However, that investigation concerned only the five NATO depots for storage and maintenance of US vehicles.
Secretary of State Visser already apologized at that time and came with grief money for victims and their next of kin, in addition to a provisional amount for which people could have already reported. This compensation scheme is now being extended to employees at all Defence locations who have worked with chrome-6. “In recognition of the failure to comply with our duty of care as an employer,” said Visser today when presenting the report. In addition, everyone is free to start an injury injury procedure.
There is criticism of this scheme because many former defence staff are not eligible for it. They do not have a condition that is on the RIVM list with conditions related to exposure to chromium-6.
Among other things, the municipality of Tilburg opted for a different design: there everyone who had worked with the poison paint received a basic allowance, including people who are not (yet) sick. That is not why the resignation Secretary of State Visser chooses to do so, not even in the extension that is now coming for ‘other Defence Personnel ‘.
Until the end of last year, more than 900 people had applied for provisional damages. Less than half was granted compensation. 4000 people registered at an information point. Secretary of State Visser today appealed to those who have not yet done so to report.