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Bhopal Case Essay

587 words - 3 pages

TOXIC GAS EXPOSED POPULATION OF BHOPAL Toxic Gas Leak and Its Aftermath Sudden leakage of tons of Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) from a storage tank at the Union Carbide Factory in Bhopal on the night of 2nd-3rd December, 1984, had caused death of more than 2,000 people over the following 3 days, from amongst an estimated population of over 5 lacs (out of a total of 8 lacs) who were actually exposed to the toxic MIC and its reaction products together called toxic gas. The circumstances under which the toxic gas leaked from the Union Carbide Factory, and what followed are described in the first ICMR Technical Report : Population Based Long Term Epidemiological Studies (1985-1994)1. Based on the prevailing meteorological conditions it was observed that strong inversion currents prevailed at that time of the night slowly drifted the toxic cloud, affecting both human and plant life along its ...view middle of the document...

Thousands of very sick people thronged the corridors of the hospitals; gasping for breath, frothing at mouth, congested watery eyes unable to see clearly, retching and vomiting, with fear and panic writ large on their face. A team of local doctors including the Gandhi Medical College staff, paramedical and social workers under the able and dynamic leadership of Dr.N.P.Misra promptly moved into action to organize medical relief to the lacs of suffering people, thus saving thousands of lives. They also looked at the totality of the problems created by the disaster so that immediate and long term medical relief measures could be organised. A quick estimate suggested that approximately 100,000 persons residing in areas close to the Union Carbide Factory would have been exposed to relatively higher concentration of the potentially lethal toxic gas than the areas farther away. Inhalational deaths occurred instantly at home, in streets and in hospitals. Besides the dead, lacs of the exposees constituting about 60% of the total 8 lac population of Bhopal suffered from respiratory, ophthalmic, musculoskeletal, neuropsychiatric and gastrointestinal symptoms. While the healthcare providers with severely constrained infrastructure grappled with the gigantic task of providing medical relief to save lives, the scientists across the country who had immediately realized the gravity and complexity of the situation were deeply concerned with the following long term aspects of the disaster: 1. 2. 3. The observed mortality and morbidity pattern clearly indicated that the toxic gas was potentially lethal and may cause many more deaths and diseases in the near and distant future. It was most disturbing that nothing was known about the exact composition of the toxic gas or its antidotes. MIC being a highly reactive chemical may adversely affect the pregnancy outcome, causing abortions, still births or congenital anomalies. There was also the possibility of the incidence of cancers going up

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