papers: Unproven technology used in Bhopal
November 22, 2002
FIRST PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED IN BHOPAL
evidence highlights Dow Chemical's environmental liability
campaigning for justice in the case of the December
'84 Union Carbide disaster today presented new evidence
that throws light on corporate liability for the toxic
contamination of the ground water and soil in Bhopal.
The evidence consists of internal documents of Union
Carbide Corporation that is now publicly available
following a discovery motion in the class action suit
filed by seven individual and five plaintiff organizations
According to Mrs. Champa Devi Shukla, Secretary, Bhopal
Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, these
documents show that despite being aware of the danger
and despite the further damage being done to communities
already suffering from the effects of its poison gases
the company issued no warnings and took no action
to stop the contamination, but continued to insist
publicly that local drinking wells were safe. "
Meanwhile Union Carbide was making strenuous behind-the-scenes
efforts to rid itself of responsibility for the site."
Last week, plaintiff organizations presented documents
that revealed that Union Carbide and its ex-CEO Warren
Anderson had imposed "unproven technology"
in the most dangerous part of the plant in order to
cut costs and maintain absolute control of their Indian
According to Mr. Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group
for Information and Action, the new set of documents
show that as early as 1972, Carbide's American managers
discussed the danger of ground-water pollution from
the factory. "The documents also show that while
Carbide's officials themselves doubted the findings
of the study by the National Environmental Engineering
Research Institute (NEERI), they continued to cite
the flawed study to mislead the public and the central
and state governments" said Sarangi.
"These documents show that Carbide's officials
knew that by 1989 the ground water was severely poisoned"
DEAD FISH FOR EXCERPT OF CARBIDE DOCUMENT
publicly quoting NEERI's study, Carbide carried
out its own emergency investigation and found
severe poisoning of land and water. Samples
taken near the factory wall adjacent to a
nearby settlement caused 100% toxicity in
fish. The company did not make these findings
public and never warned local people that
their drinking wells might be poisoned. Dow-Carbide
continues to assert to this day that there
is no danger to local drinking water.
to Champa Devi "The new evidence not only compound
the crimes against humanity committed by Union Carbide,
they clearly establish the serious liability of Dow
Chemical, Carbide's new owner. Dow announced its merger
with Union Carbide in August 1999 less than a year
after Carbide's scientists found deadly poisons in
the ground water. Dow knows that a whole new generation
is today being poisoned in Bhopal and so far has done
nothing to prevent it".
to independent experts, the clean up of contamination
could cost Dow up to $500 million.
Commenting on the role of the Madhya Pradesh government
the activists said that these documents show that
the government first collaborated with Union Carbide
in suppressing information on contamination and then
was itself hoodwinked by the Corporation. "The
state government can still redeem itself by filing
an amicus curae statement in support of the class
action suit in the USA and presenting a white paper
on the situation of soil and ground water contamination."
said Champa Devi.
Champa Devi Shukla,
Secretary, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari
Satinath Sarangi, Member, Bhopal Group for Information
1. House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag
Umrao Dulha, Bhopal Tel: 9827238637
2. B-2 / 302, Sheetal Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal
RELEVANT UNION CARBIDE DOCUMENTS (UPWARDS OF 100 PAGES)
WILL BE AVAILABLE
ON THIS WEBSITE WITHIN THE NEXT 12 HOURS, TOGETHER
WITH OUR DETAILED ANALYSIS