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International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health


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Bhopal Gas Tragedy: review of clinical and experimental findings after 25 years

Pradyumna Mishra / Ravindra Samarth / Neelam Pathak / Subodh Jain / Smita Banerjee / Kewal Maudar
Published Online: 2009-10-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10001-009-0028-1

Bhopal Gas Tragedy: review of clinical and experimental findings after 25 years

The Bhopal gas tragedy is undoubtedly one of the worst industrial disasters in the history of mankind resulting in mortality of 2500-6000 and debilitating over 200 000 people. Inhabitants in the township were exposed to different degrees and there are more than 500 000 registered victims that survived the tragedy. Clinical studies have shown chronic illnesses such as pulmonary fibrosis, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, recurrent chest infections, keratopathy and corneal opacities in exposed cohorts. Survivors continue to experience higher incidence of reported health problems including febrile illnesses, respiratory, neurologic, psychiatric and ophthalmic symptoms. In-utero exposure to methyl isocyanate in the first trimester of pregnancy caused a persistent immune system hyper-responsiveness, which was in an evident way genetically linked with the organic exposure. Recent experimental studies have provided mechanistic understanding of methyl isocyanate exposure at a molecular level. Immunotoxic implications, toxico-genomic effect, inflammatory response, elicitation of mitochondrial oxidative stress, chromosomal and microsatellite instability have been studied comprehensively in cultured mammalian cells. Besides providing a framework for understanding potential mechanisms of toxicity of a host of other exposures, these studies may also uncover unique abnormalities thereby stimulating efforts to design newer and effective diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. The authors recommend long-term monitoring of the affected area and use of appropriate methods of investigation that include well-designed cohort studies, case-control studies for rare condition, characterization of personal exposure and accident analysis to determine the possible elements of the gas cloud.

Keywords: Methyl isocyanate; Bhopal Gas Tragedy; Health effects; Industrial disasters

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About the article


Published Online: 2009-10-09

Published in Print: 2009-01-01


Citation Information: International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, ISSN (Online) 1896-494X, ISSN (Print) 1232-1087, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10001-009-0028-1.

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