Bhopal Disaster

Bhopal Disaster
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  Bhopal Disaster On the night of December 2, 1984 a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India leaked methyl isocynate gas and other chemicals creating a dense toxic cloud over the region and killing more than 8,000  people in just the first few days. Since 1984, 20,000 people lost their lives in Bhopal, India after a chemical gas spill from a  pesticide factory. More than 40 tons of methyl isocyante (MIC) gas created a dense cloud over a resident population of more than half a million people. People woke in their homes to fits of coughing, their lungs filling with fluid. More than 8,000  people were killed in just the first few days following the leak, mainly from cardiac and respiratory arrest. The chemical factory responsible for this disaster belonged to Union Carbide, which negotiated a settlement with the Indian Government in 1989 for $470 million - a total of only $370 to $533  per victim - a sum too small to pay for most medical bills. In 1987, a Bhopal District Court charged Union Carbide officials, including then CEO Warren Anderson, with culpable homicide, grievous assault and other serious offences. In 1992, a warrant was issued for Anderson's arrest. But justice has eluded the people of Bhopal for more than 20 years. Dow, since its merger with Union Carbide, refuses to assume these liabilities in India - or clean up the toxic poisons left  behind. More than 20,000 people still live in the vicinity of the factory and are exposed to toxic chemicals through groundwater and soil contamination. A whole new generation continues to get sick, from cancer and birth defects to everyday impacts of aches and pains, rashes, fevers, eruptions of boils, headaches, nausea, lack of appetite, dizziness, and constant exhaustion. Seveso disaster  The Seveso disaster  was an industrial accident that occurred around 12:37 pm July 10, 1976, in a small chemical manufacturing plant approximately 15 km (9.3 mi) north of  Milan in the Lombardy region in Italy. It resulted in the highest known exposure to 2,3,7,8-  tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) in residential populations [1]  which gave rise to numerous scientific studies and standardized industrial safety regulations. The EU industrial safety regulations are known as the Seveso II Directive. Seveso disaster was so named because Seveso, with a population of 17,000 in 1976, was the community most affected. Other affected neighbouring communities were Meda (19,000), Desio (33,000), Cesano Maderno (34,000) and to a lesser extent Barlassina(6,000) and Bovisio-Masciago (11,000). [2]  The industrial plant, located in Meda, was owned by the company ICMESA (  Industrie Chimiche Meda Società Azionaria ), a subsidiary of  Givaudan which in turn was a subsidiary of  Hoffmann-La Roche (Roche Group). The factory building had been built many years earlier and the local population did not perceive it as a potential source of danger. Moreover, although several exposures of populations to dioxins had occurred before, mostly in industrial accidents, they were of a more limited scale. Chemical explosion in Toulouse   By Marianne Arens and François Thull 25 September 2001 On Friday, September 21 at 10:18 a.m. the French town of Toulouse was rocked by a devastating chemical explosion. Two production halls of the AZF fertiliser factory, a subsidiary of AtoFina and part of the oil giant TotalFinaElf, literally flew into the air. Initial reports spoke of 29 dead and 34 with severe injuries. A total of 2,400 were injured, most of them with cuts arising from splintered, flying glass. On Sunday evening five chemical workers remained unaccounted for. One of the dead was a 15-year-old boy. Four hundred sixty workers are employed in the factory, working in several shifts. The workers  present were caught off-guard by the huge explosion and had no chance to escape. Two chimneys collapsed and all that remained from the two halls at the centre of the explosion was a crater 10 metres deep and 50 metres wide. The pressure from the explosion was sufficient to send automobiles flying into the air, causing a nearby shopping centre to collapse and severely damaging all buildings in the surrounding area. Windows were shattered over a radius of 5 kilometres and many students at a secondary school in the neighbourhood suffered injuries. The city motorway towards the south was transformed  into a field of rubble by a rain of dust and bricks, which damaged numerous cars and injured their drivers. The detonation resulted in a panic in the city centre some 3 kilometres from the blast. The telephone network collapsed as a huge orange coloured cloud of gas, smelling of ammonia, moved towards the city centre. Gas masks were distributed in the town centre and the metro system in Toulouse was evacuated because of the spread of gas. The city council issued a warning that people should stay indoors and close their windows  —  a problem for those whose windows had already been shattered. The airport at Toulouse-Blagnac and the main railway station were closed and 90 schools in the area evacuated. Over radio, inhabitants were called upon to refrain from drinking tap water and use as little water as possible. As many citizens attempted to leave in their cars, they suddenly encountered police blockades at the main roads to the south and at the central city ring road. Damage caused by the explosion and the subsequent pressure wave is expected to run into several billion francs. The detonation could be felt 80 kilometres away and the Institute for Geophysics at Strasbourg, which measures all seismic changes, registered the blast at 3.4 on the Richter scale. This makes the explosion at Toulouse one of the biggest in modern industrial history, ranking together with such accidents as the 1921 explosion at the Oppau nitrogen works in Germany, with over 500 dead, and the chemical leak at Union Carbide in Bhopal, India in 1984, in which thousands died. Minamata   Disaster Over 3,000 victims have been recognized as having "Minamata Disease". It has taken some of these people over thirty years to receive compensation for this inconceivable event. In 1993, nearly forty years later, the Japanese courts were still resolving suitable compensation for the victims. Many people have lost their lives, suffered from physical deformities, or have had to live with the physical and emotional pain of "Minamata Disease". This suffering is all a result of the very wrongful and negligent acts of the Chisso Corporation who dumped mercury into the sea water and poisoned the people of Japan.  DISTURBING SIGNS The devastation of the fishing community of Minamata was, in effect, the bill of Japanese industrialization come due. It was a familiar story, whereby those who bore the costs of industrialization were not its primary beneficiaries. In 1953, Minamata residents first noticed that cats and dogs fed fish scraps from the docks of Minamata Bay began to suffer from strange convulsions and bizarre behavior   —  dancing wildly, tearing at themselves, foaming at the mouth, and flinging themselves into the ocean to die. Crows crashed wildly into the rocks and dropped dead from the sky. Residents began to suffer alarming symptoms, including uncontrollable tremors and convulsions, loss of speech and hearing, and numbness. Those symptoms, it was later learned, resulted from methyl mercury compounds, which were present in the local daily diet of contaminated seafood, that had penetrated the nervous system. They were the classic symptoms of“mad - hatter disease,” the name derived from an earlier instance of mercury  poisoning in the nineteenth century that afflicted English hatters who worked with mercury-treated felt and fur. In the case of the Minamata residents, the mercury transformed brain cells and other areas of the nervous system into a black, spongy mass. The mercury also accumulated in the placenta of pregnant women, giving fetuses a concentrated dose. Affected children were  born with conditions similar to cerebral palsy, only with permanently deformed brains and limited intelligence.   
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