Bhopal disaster


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Bhopal disaster

  1. 1. Bhopal Disaster of Chemical Disasters  by Sibel Tekmen
  2. 2. Overview <ul><ul><li>Night of December 2-3 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leak of methyl isocyanate gas and other chemicals from the plant resulted in exposure to hundreds of thousands of lives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3,000 died within weeks, and another 8,000 died from gas related diseases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>558,125 injuries including 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UCIL was the Indian subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UCIL factory was built in 1969 to produce pesticide Sevin  (UCC’s brand name for carbaryl) </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. The Incident <ul><ul><li>On the night of December 2-3, water entered the tank containing 42 tons of MIC, which exceeded the limit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resulting exothermic reaction increased the temperature inside the tank over 200 degrees Celcius and raised the pressure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This forced the emergency venting of pressure, which leaked the gas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reaction was sped up by the presence of iron corroding from non-stainless steel pipelines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pipes were cleaned with water, workers were not told to add a slip-bind water isolation plate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gases were blown into Bhopal by northwestern winds </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Theories <ul><ul><li>Theories on how water entered the tank differ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One is that after workers were cleaning out a clogged pipe, it was possible that water somehow leaked into the tank, but the water entry route could not be reproduced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Also,  UCC claimed that this was impossible and that water was introduced to the tank directly as an act of sabotage from an angry worker </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Factors <ul><li>Factors leading to the gas leak include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Storing MIC in large tanks and filling beyond recommended levels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor maintenance after the plant ceased MIC production at the end of 1984 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Failure of several safety systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Safety systems being switched off in order to save money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem was made worse by the mushrooming of slums in the vicinity of the plant, non existent catastrophe plans, and shortcomings in socio-economic rehabilitation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of a more dangerous pesticide manufacturing method </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dependence on manual operation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plant location was very close to a densely populated area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of skilled operators </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Conditions <ul><li>Weak Conditions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cuts meant less stringent quality control and thus looser safety rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If there was a pipe leaking, wouldn’t replace it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Would do with less training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promotions were halted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workers were forced to use English manuals, even though they had a slight grasp of it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>So many more factors of poor maintenance and safety regulations </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Aftermath <ul><ul><li>Indian government closed the plant  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>to outsiders, including UCC. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Failed to make data public </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Council of Scientific and Industrial  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Research were forbidden to publish  </li></ul><ul><li>their data of health effects until after 1994 </li></ul>
  8. 8. Short Term Health Effects <ul><ul><li>Apart from MIC, the gas cloud contained: hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, oxides of nitrogen, monomethyl amine (MMA), and carbon dioxide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The cloud stayed close to the ground and spread throughout the community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Immediate effects : Coughing, vomiting, severe eye irritation, and feeling of suffocation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People awakened fled from the plant, those who did not have a ride inhaled more </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Within a few days leaves on trees yellowed and fell off </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mass funerals and cremations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Food and supplies became scarce, fish was prohibited </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Long Term Health Effects <ul><ul><li>100,000 to 200,000 people had permanent injuries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eye problems, respiratory difficulties, immune and neurological disorders, cardiac failure secondary to lung injury, female reproductive difficulties long with birth defects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indian government and UCC deny any permanent injuries were due to MIC </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Methylamine reacts with phosgene producing methyl isocyanate which reacts with 1-naphthol to yield carbaryl.