GGD Kennemerland Director Removed Tata Steel from Cancer Report
The Netherland Times reported that the director of GGD Kennemerland Mr Bert van de Velden deleted Tata Steel’s name from a report on lung cancer in IJmond, even though Tata Steel is the largest source of air pollution in the region. Mr Van de Velden allegedly intervened several times to avoid that Tata Steel’s name appeared in a report on cancer prevention in Kennemerland. The Noordhollandse Dagblad reviewed 31 draft versions of the report which appeared one year ago. Tata Steel was initially mentioned in the draft but did not appear in the final version. Mr Van de Velden admitted to the Noordlhollands Dagblad that Tata had indeed been swept from the messages, although he stated this was done for purely stylistic reasons. Van de Velden recommended to his employees, according to the newspaper, “The word Tata should not be used.”
GGD Kennemerland monitors health risks and tries to promote people's health. All activities are aimed at keeping people healthy.
Investigative journalist, Bart Vuijk, from the Noordhollands Dagbald who uncovered the discrepancies said he finds the defense “strange”. Vuijk uncovered 345 pages of emails and Whatsapp messages from GGD employees. “Tata is mentioned 70 times mostly in the context of ‘how do we keep Tata out of this report’”, he said. “That was a direct order from the director. It was literally stated a few times.”
Lawyer Bénédicte Finq said "This piece may be influential for the investigation of the Public Prosecution Service. I want people to learn about the potential power that Tata Steel has to influence independent investigations. I am a really scared of this. What else is being kept from us to please Tata”, local resident Dirk Weidema wondered. The GGD recently asked me again to join a board group for the Health Monitor 2020. I said that I don’t feel like it anymore if they hide the facts.”