>>>ILVA steelworks clean up approved in Italian Senate

Health department reports cancer rates jumped 50% since 2011

>>>ILVA steelworks clean up approved in Italian Senate

(ANSA) - Rome, October 3 - The Italian Senate on Wednesday approved a decree to clean up the ILVA steelworks and the highly polluted area around the plant in the southern city of Taranto. The ILVA case has pitted environmental concerns due to high cancer rates against workers unwilling to lose their jobs after a court-ordered closure. A report released by Taranto's ASL health department on Wednesday recorded a 50% jump in admissions for cancer treatments in the area around the plant. The increase, recorded in the first six months of this year, was compared with the same period in 2011 and reported by the officials in charge of pharmaceutical expenditures for regional ASL health clinics near the ILVA steelworks. The report comes as the troubled ILVA steel plant in Taranto is fighting for its industrial life amid accusations that for more than a dozen years it has unleashed dangerous pollution into the area. Health studies released last month by critics of ILVA suggested some cancer risks in the area are as much as 306% higher than normal. Those studies suggested a 24% higher risk than normal for developing cancer of the liver and of the lungs, a 38% heightened risk for lymphoma and a 306% greater risk for developing a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma. Prosecutors have ordered ILVA to curb production while the company upgrades its facilities to higher pollution standards. The move has been fought by the Italian government, the company and unions at the plant whose members fear for their jobs. The Italian parliament passed a decree on Wednesday to begin clean ups in the area around the ILVA plant. An employee at ILVA, 34-year-old Giuseppe Raho, suffered first-degree burns after slag exploded from a container Wednesday in an area of the mill subject to closure for upgrades.

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