Twenty-five years ago today, a leak at the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India released about 75,000 pounds of Methyl isocyanate (MIC) into the surrounding neighborhoods. The toxic leak killed more than 3,800 people instantly and an estimated 20,000 in the months and years since. Read more about the disaster here. And a more recent article here.
We must have learned a lesson from this right??
Bayer bought the Union Carbide Corp in 2001. And even today, Bayer CropScience is believed to have a quarter-million-pound stockpile of MIC at their West Virginia plant. Bayer has recently pledged to reduce their stockpile, but seriously, 20,000+ deaths and 25 years later? Sorry, but you suck Bayer.
MIC is still used today to produce herbicides and insecticides that get sprayed on our crops. However, it looks like the pesticide Carbofuran (which contains MIC) will soon be banned by the EPA. The EPA writes, “Exposure to the pesticide carbofuran resulting from existing legal uses is unsafe– unsafe for the general population, and particularly unsafe for infants and children.”
And big surprise, the National Corn Growers Association, National Sunflower Association, National Potato Council and the FMC Corporation (the only U.S. manufacturer of Carbofuran) are fighting the EPA for continued use of Carbofuran.
Chemical companies get away with use of chemicals such as these because there is little data on long-term exposure or cancer risk. Unfortunately, for those of us who end up ingesting or soaking up these chemicals, a LACK of data doesn’t confirm safety– Bhopal is evidence of that.