Cover

On its front page, Trouw reports that "in 80% of cases in the Netherlands, work to remove asbestos in dwellings and businesses is conducted without a permit." The newspaper has succeeded in obtaining a July 2009 report commissioned by the Ministry for Social Affairs, the Environment and Urban and Rural Planning which, according to anonymous sources, "shocked government officials to the point where they decided to prevent its publication." The use of asbestos has been banned in the Netherlands since 1993, but 70% of buildings completed before this date contain the material, which sheds carcinogenic particles. In a feature article on the topic, the newspaper explains that there are "no controls on the transport, processing or final storage" of illegally removed asbestos. Worse still, the certification of asbestos removal companies is often subject to fraud. "Shady dealings on the part of builders and removal contractors will certainly cost lives, but no one knows how many victims there will be," warns Trouw.