142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Lessons learned (or not) from the Bhopal Disaster

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 8:30 AM - 8:43 AM

V. Ramana Dhara, MD, ScD, MPH , Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health of Emory Univ., Atlanta, GA
Background: Three decades after the world's worst chemical and environmental disaster in 1984 survivors continue to fight for damages, environmental remediation of the site, and medical rehabilitation. It is well known that persistent and chronic gas-related health effects are present in the Bhopal population. However, the full spectrum of effects has not been well defined, especially in those exposed as children or in utero, and as manifested in survivor reproductive health. There has been a lack of systematic collection of relevant information in these reproductive effects, and also with respect to cancer development or other chronic illnesses as sequelae of the gas exposure.

Methods: The Bhopal population is the largest natural laboratory of an accidental chemical release and presented an opportunity to help survivors and study the long-term effects of MIC toxicity in human beings. Much could have been learnt to benefit gas victims as well as future populations impacted by disaster. A review of studies will be done to determine the extent of our knowledge on the disaster.

Results: This talk will evaluate the medical and scientific investigation since 1984 and discuss the lessons learned and not learned from the disaster.   

Conclusions: This presentation reviews the background of the Bhopal disaster as a case-study and presents recommendations for investigation and mitigation of health effects for future disasters.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Describe the long-term health effects of the disaster Evaluate the conduct of health studies and their lacunae Discuss the lessons learned from this accident and their application for disaster management

Keyword(s): Chemical Exposures & Prevention, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a member of the International Medical Commission on Bhopal disaster, I have designed and published the first long-term health effects studies on the exposed community. My work on exposure assessment in the gas victims is being used as a teaching tool in environmental epidemiology. I am actively involved in the reviewing and researching the long-term effects of the disaster and have published numerous papers on the subject.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.