Processing Magazine

Bhopal children poisoned by toxic water supply

December 1, 2009
Thousands of innocent people are being poisoned in Bhopal, India by the abandoned Union Carbide site leaching highly toxic chemicals into the water supply. The Bhopal Medical Appeal Water Report shows alarmingly high levels of carcinogens and toxins in the drinking water that especially affects babies and children in the womb. The site of the World’s worst ever industrial accident – the 1984 gas leak at Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL), has never been cleaned up, and years of monsoon rains have washed its abandoned stockpiles of toxic chemicals in to the soil and groundwater aquifer that is still used by many as a source of drinking water. Analysis carried out by accredited laboratories in Switzerland and the UK found at least sixteen contaminants at levels greatly exceeding World Health Organization (WHO) safe guideline levels. Carbon Tetrachloride toxicity was recorded at more than 2400 times the WHO safe guidance level. Many of the chemicals found in the water supply are known, or suspected, carcinogens. The impact of people living in the area is shocking. It has been called Bhopal’s ‘second disaster’, as a new generation, not even born at the time of the 1984 gas leak, have been exposed to decades of poisoning. These toxic chemicals and heavy metals are in the soil, in the plants and animals, and even in the breast milk of nursing mothers. In the affected areas people are chronically sick; cancer rates are rising and children are born with terrible abnormalities. A preliminary study suggests as many as one child in twenty-five is born with a congenital defect. The report concludes that the toxic chemicals in the water supply were those used at the UCIL plant in the production processes of the pesticide Sevin, and that there is no other possible source for the contamination. Dow Chemical who bought Union Carbide in 2001 has never been held to account for the clean up. The Bhopal Medical Appeal Report was compiled using new, previously un-published test data, from accredited laboratories in Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, alongside the collated results of previous tests carried out