Bayer Drops Plan for Toxic MIC Production
March 21, 2011
Bayer CropScience is abandoning plans to resume production in West Virginia of a toxic chemical that killed thousands of people in Bhopal, India, in the world''s deadliest industrial disaster. Bayer broke the news during a federal court hearing in a lawsuit brought by residents seeking to stop the company from restarting the unit that produces methyl isocyanate. The chemical typically known as MIC killed about 15,000 people and sickened about a half-million when it leaked from a former Union Carbide plant in Bhopal in 1984. Bayer halted MIC production at the plant in Institute last summer. Bayer uses methyl isocyanate to manufacture pesticide at the plant and had hoped to resume production before the 2011 growing season. Bayer decided it would not restart production because it faced at least a one-month delay because of an ongoing federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection, lawyer Al Emch told Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin. The plant in Institute is the only one in the nation that still stores MIC in large volumes. Bayer originally planned to phase out MIC use at the plant in mid-2012. MIC is used to produce Temik, a pesticide that Bayer has agreed to stop selling under an agreement with Environmental Protection Agency.