(Bloomberg) -- Hazardous emissions from Tata Steel Ltd.’s IJmuiden factory in the Netherlands pose elevated health risks to those living nearby, according to the national public health agency.
The life expectancy around the steel factory is 2.5 months lower due to exposure to fine particles and nitrogen dioxide, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, or RIVM, said in a report published on Friday.
The hazardous emissions from Tata Steel’s Dutch plant have been controversial for some time, with earlier studies finding higher-than-usual concentrations of carcinogenic metals in dust collected from surrounding areas. The mill has faced legal proceedings from local residents and was the subject of a debate in the country’s parliament.
Tata Steel, in an emailed statement, said its emissions comply with legal limits. “Nevertheless, we have taken a large number of measures in recent years to further reduce our impact on the environment and the nuisance that people experience. And we will continue to do so,” the statement added.
Exposure to fine particles increases the risk of developing lung cancer, and around 4% of new cases each year around the plant can be attributed to such emissions, the Dutch health agency said. Up to 80% of the residents of Wijk aan Zee, the closest town to the plant, also have to deal increased odor, dust and noise, RIVM said.
In 2021, the company announced plans to convert its Dutch steelworks to run on hydrogen by 2030 amid mounting political pressure to clean up the site’s operations. For the steelmaker and its peers, cleaning up existing plants requires expensive upgrades, squeezing finances under frequent been strain from global steel overcapacity.
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