MILAN (AP) — A steel plant in southern Italy at the center of an environmental scandal has announced it is closing after police seized some produced goods.

Concerns have grown over the elevated incidence of cancer in the area around the Ilva plant. The Environment Ministry has been overseeing efforts to clean up the plant and assess health risks. Police have arrested seven people on suspicion of bribing officials to play down health concerns.

The plant's operators said Monday that the materials' seizure went against government authorization to keep operations going while they addressed the environmental issues. They say toxic fumes have been reduced.

The plant employs 12,000 and accounts for 75 percent of economic production in the Taranto province.

Despite the closure announcement, the FIOM union urged workers to keep working.