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Union Carbide’s History of Massacre – Union Carbide started out as a carbon company in 1886 and diversified to gases and chemicals during World War. –

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Presentation on theme: "Union Carbide’s History of Massacre – Union Carbide started out as a carbon company in 1886 and diversified to gases and chemicals during World War. –"— Presentation transcript:

1 Union Carbide’s History of Massacre – Union Carbide started out as a carbon company in 1886 and diversified to gases and chemicals during World War. – From the Manhattan project of World War II, until it relinquished its contract in 1984, Union Carbide was a contractor to the US federal government's nuclear weapons production. – Before Bhopal, Union Carbide Corporation caused the largest industrial disaster in the US. In the construction of the Hawk's Nest Tunnel in West Virginia in 1934 nearly 2000 company workers, most of them black, died of Silicosis - an occupational disease caused by hazardous working conditions.

2 Conti …. At the Cimanggis plant in Indonesia at one point in 1978, 402 employees more than half the work force of 750), were suffering from kidney disease attributable to workplace contamination according to the company's doctor Dr.Maizar Syafei. She was asked by the company not to tell the workers that there was mercury in their drinking water or else the workers "would become anxious." As part of UCC's economy drive, the management at the Bhopal plant had switched off the refrigeration unit to save about Rs.700 (US $50) per day. Had the refrigeration unit been working, a runaway reaction in the MIC tank could've been delayed or even prevented.

3 Double Standards At the W Virginia plant all the vital systems had back-ups and were automatically linked to computerized alarms and crises control systems. The Bhopal plant not only lacked all the above but the sole manual alarm was also switched off so as not to 'unduly' alarm people. All over Europe the maximum permissible storage limit for MIC is half a ton. At the Bhopal plant, the US company's management overrode the wishes of the managers of its Indian subsidiary and kept the storage capacity hazardously high at over 90 tons. On the night of the disaster, 67 tons of MIC were stored in two tanks.

4 Conti….. The first time the management of the Carbide plant came to know about the leak was at 11:00 pm. The factory alarm meant for workers was started by a desperate worker at 12:50 pm. The management not only turned it off within minutes but also delayed the sounding of the public siren until as late as 2:00pm by which time all the gas that could leak had leaked.

5 Long History of Violation Union Carbide is the first company in the US to violate laws relating to providing information on chemicals used in a facility. The company claimed Trade Secrecy Protection in refusing to identify one of the key chemicals used in its plant at Henderson, Kentucky. Using the same cover, UCC continues to withhold vital information about the exact nature and composition of the leaked gases and its effects on the human system. After 15 years, this is still one of the prime reasons for the absence of a proper line of medical care for the victims.

6 After the disaster On the night of the disaster when people poured into hospitals by thousands, their eyes and lungs in burning choking agony, and urine and faeces running down their legs, the doctors called up the Plant Medical Officer to find out what they ought to do. They were told that the gas is like tear gas. "Just wash with water." J.Mukund, the Works Manager and Jackson B Browning, Director of Health, Safety and Environmental Affairs, Union Carbide Corporations, continued to refer to the poisonous chemicals that had till that date, killed over 8000 people, as "nothing more than potent tear gas."

7 Union Carbide's Toxic Legacy Nearly one-fifth of the exposed population of 500,000 today suffers from a whole host of maladies like lung fibrosis, impaired vision, bronchial asthma, TB, breathlessness, loss of appetite, severe body pains, painful and irregular menstrual cycles, recurrent fever, persistent cough, neurological disorders, fatigue, weakness, anxiety and depression. Cancer and sterility are on the rise according to doctors involved in the treatment of the survivors. Researchers have found chromosomal aberrations in the exposed population indicating a strong likelihood of congenital malformations in the generations to come.

8 Corporate Criminals-Dow mergers with Union Carbide Dow, since its merger with Union Carbide, has refused to assume these liabilities in India, despite the fact that over 20,000 people in the vicinity of the Union Carbide factory continue to be exposed to toxic chemicals through groundwater and soil contamination. This stands in stark contrast to Dow's acceptance of Union Carbide's liabilities in Texas, where they recently settled an asbestos-related lawsuit.


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