142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Women & Children of Bhopal: Thirty years after the gas disaster

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 8:43 AM - 8:56 AM

Shree Mulay, PhD , Community Health & Humanities Division, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, St. John's, NF, Canada
Veeresh Gadag, PhD , Community Health and Humanities Division, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, St. John's, NF, Canada
Satinath Sarangi, Dr. , Sambhavna Trust Clinic, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
Daya Varma, MD, PhD , Therapeutics and Pharmacology, McGill University, St. John's, NF, Canada
Background:Earlier we had reported that approximately 40% of women at different stages of pregnancy, at the time of the leak of MIC from the Union Carbide pesticide plant did not deliver live babies. Experimental studies on mouse model confirmed the epidemiological data. Moreover, certain metabolites of MIC were also found to be toxic to mouse embryos in culture. Follow-up studies conducted in 2003, noted stunted growth of the male children exposed to MIC in utero. Several studies have revealed that the ground water within and adjacent to pesticide plant contains high concentrations of teratogenic and carcinogenic chemicals like dichlorobenzene, trichlorobenzene, carbon tetrachloride, hexachlorocyclohexane and  heavy metals like mercury. The consequences of MIC leak in 1984, and previously unrecognized risk of contaminated water on pregnancy outcome has been the focus of our work. 

Methods: A cohort study is being conducted comparing four groups (5,000 families in each group): (1) controls (2) exposed to MIC in 1984, (3) exposed to contaminated water and (4) exposed to MIC and contaminated water, to determine pregnancy outcome, incidence of birth defects in the progeny, etc. 

Results: The analysis of data will provide new evidence concerning the health impacts of a single exposure to MIC or prolonged exposure to contaminated water or both, compared to controls. We hope to shed light on long-term mortality in the cohort, pregnancy outcomes, incidence of birth defects and prevalence of other diseases.

Conclusion: The cohort study will provide new information on the long-term effects of the gas disaster and long-term exposure to chemicals from the Union carbide factory.

Learning Areas:

Basic medical science applied in public health
Environmental health sciences
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Describe the Bhopal disaster and the health effects on women and children in affected population in Bhopal. Discuss the multi-systemic nature of health consequences. Identify strategies by which health care providers and institutions can understand and mitigate the impacts of disaster-related illness.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have collaborated with Sambhavna Trust Clinic; it provides free medical treatment to the victims of the Bhopal Gas accident. I, along with my co-authors developed the research protocols, monitored the data collection and did the analysis of the cohort study. I have conducted research in Bhopal since 2001 and published two papers with them in academic journals.
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.