November 29, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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Meta grew up near Chemours and, like her parents and sister, had cancer: “Leaving?”  “Then someone else lives here and gets sick.”

Meta grew up near Chemours and, like her parents and sister, had cancer: “Leaving?” “Then someone else lives here and gets sick.”

She lost her parents and her partner to cancer, and at age 45 discovered she had been living with the disease for years. Meta Kamphuis (49) lives near the chemical company Chemours and wants to close the plant. “I think it all comes down to that.”

Meta joined the weekly demonstration in front of the factory gate of the chemical company Chemours in Dordrecht. Together with the Health For Everything activist, she is demanding that the factory where she lives 200 meters away be closed as soon as possible. “People sometimes ask why I don’t leave. But it doesn’t work that way.”

He died of cancer

When she was 17, she lost her father to cancer, and a year later she lost her mother to the same disease. At the age of forty-five, she discovered that she had been suffering from colon cancer for years. She recovered, but lost her partner shortly afterwards to the disease. As if all the misery wasn’t enough, her sister was also diagnosed with colon cancer last year.

All that adversity made her think. Her genes have been checked to rule out nothing hereditary in the family. “That wasn’t the reason. It had to come from somewhere.”

Similar cases

“I’ve lived near this plant my whole life,” she points out at Chemours, a chemical company in Dordrecht that was formerly called DuPont. “I ate pears from the garden and swam in the water here. No, I can’t make it difficult. But I doubt it has something to do with the plant.”

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Many similar cases are heard in Dordrecht. “In this small neighborhood alone, there is a 4 percent increase in cancer cases. In Sliedrecht this percentage is even higher, according to the Cancer Atlas.”

a permit

Lawyer Benedikt Fick is filing a complaint against the chemical company on behalf of about 3,000 people. This focuses on (former) managers discharging harmful PFAS substances. Meta believes this has put the health of local residents at risk for years. She is one of the people represented by Ficq.

She does this not for herself, but so that others do not get sick anymore. “We have to fight for all the children here and the children of the future. That’s why I want to cancel the factory permit as soon as possible.”

Never the same thing again

It’s already too late for her, she says. Because even though she has recovered from cancer, she has not fully recovered. “My body has been destroyed and my immune system has been compromised.”

“I developed neuropathy as a result of chemotherapy. This is damage to the nerve endings. When it’s warm, I’m fine, but when it’s cold, I don’t have that feeling anymore and there’s a chance I’ll fall.” “Then my feet didn’t feel good anymore.” ” , as you say.

The future is bright

“I’m 49 now and I have a lot of organs. I’m too young for that. And leave? If I don’t live here, someone else will live here, and they’ll get sick. We have the right to a healthy living environment.”

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Despite all the misery she and her family are experiencing, Mita sees a bright future, she says. “Because I see that the factory will close its doors. Then a beautiful nature reserve can be created here again.”

Audio playback

Watch the report on the demonstration in Chemours here

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