GGD Kennemerland says a conscious decision was made not to name ‘possible causes of cancer’ in a report on the high number of lung cancer cases in Beverwijk and the surrounding area. According to the service, it was investigated whether the number of cancer cases had increased, but the possible causes were not examined.
So the GGD replies to a story from Noordhollands Dagblad. The newspaper reported that GGD manager van der Velden personally intervened several times to remove Tata Steele’s name from one of the reports.
Tata is still mentioned in draft transcripts, but not in the final report. It is said that “the word Tata should not be used” and he was also said to have instructed one of his employees. The newspaper relied on documents required by the Government Information (Public Access) Act (WOB).
In a statement, GGD said it “regrets” that the names of possible causes of the cancer were mentioned in internal drafts. “Certainly because there is a need to clarify the reason for the observed increase in the number of cancer cases. The report therefore contains recommendations for municipalities to conduct further research in this regard.”
Cancer cases in the region
Last year’s report looked at whether there was an increase in the number of cancer cases in the Beverwijk region. The study showed that lung cancer and skin cancer were more common among residents of the Haarlem and Egmond regions in recent years than among people from the rest of the Netherlands. The number of patients diagnosed with cancer was 5 percent higher than the national average in the entire GGD region of Kenmerland.
Locals were outraged by the publication because Tata was not mentioned. The GGD director later admitted that Tata was omitted from the script. Today’s Noordhollands Dagblad reports that director Van der Velden personally ordered this: “The word Tata may not be used.”
Tata Steel said earlier today that it was in no way involved in preparing the report. A spokesperson said: “We respect independent research. It would be strange if we were to influence that.”