Today the Royal Dutch Airforce anounced that employees who have been exposed to chromium-6 receive compensation. KLM has established following an investigation that in recent decades, staff in aircraft, engine and component maintenance departments have been exposed to chromium-6. This is a carcinogenic metal that is found in some types of paint or coating. The substance is released during sanding and welding, among other things.

Since the 1970s, the maximum permissible exposure to chromium-6 has been lowered step by step, from 100 micrograms per cubic meter to 1 microgram per cubic meter as of 2017. “The possible exposure of employees in a number of positions in certain periods may have been higher than the legal limit at the time and therefore also than the current limit,” KLM said.

KLM says it deeply regrets this. “We find this very regrettable and would have liked to have seen, with the current insights, that in the past it had been more successful to sufficiently protect (former) employees.”

The airline is now in talks with trade unions to reach a compensation arrangement. Former employees who have worked with chromium-6 can report to the company.

The airline says it is now working with products without chromium-6 where possible. “But due to airworthiness requirements of aircraft manufacturers and a lack of alternatives, not all applications of chromium-6 can be replaced. Where chromium-6 is still being worked with, employees are working with adequate protective equipment.”

Source (Dutch article): KLM: medewerkers blootgesteld aan chroom-6, compensatie op komst | NOS

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