Articles by Leonid Chindelevitch
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December 8, 2009
In the night of December 3, 1984 forty tons of methyl isocyanate, a highly toxic chemical used to produce pesticides, leaked from a chemical plant belonging to Union Carbide (now a subsidiary of Dow Chemical) in Bhopal, India, that by some estimates killed 8,000 people within three days and affected over 500,000 residents of the area. Over 15,000 more people died of the consequences of gas exposure in the years that followed. Today, with the plant’s toxic waste site still not cleaned up, people in Bhopal are drinking very toxic water. Recently published reports from accredited laboratories in Switzerland and the UK found 15 highly toxic chemicals in the groundwater of Bhopal whose levels greatly exceed the safe levels recommended by the WHO, in some cases over a thousandfold. Most of these chemicals could be neurotoxic and damage the brain and other internal organs. The incidence of children born with congenital birth defects linked to their parents’ exposure to the gas is ten times higher in Bhopal than in other localities with matching socioeconomic factors.