Outcry over official's cancer rates comment

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An investigation into pollution at the Ilva steel plant in Taranto began in July 2012. Photo: Donato Fasano/AFP
14:50 CEST+02:00
Enrico Bondi, the commissioner of Italian steel company ILVA, will meet environment minister, Andrea Orlando, after blaming the rise in cancer rates in Taranto on the "high rates of smoking and alcohol consumption" in the southern port city and not pollution linked to one of the company's mills.

Bondi was brought in to lead the rehabilitation of the ageing Ilva steel plant, Europe’s biggest mill, which is thought to have caused an environmental disaster. An investigation into its environmental impact on people living in Taranto began in July 2012.

Bondi will appear before Orlando on Monday in order to “clarify” his remarks, Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper reported.

In June, police seized €8.1bn in steel assets from the Riva family, which owns the plant, over pollution linked to dozens of deaths at the mill.

The plant's future has been contested for months, with prosecutors calling for it to be closed and many of the workers asking that it remain open.

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Ilva represents 40 percent of Italy's steel production and was once a symbol of Italian industry. 

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