Over 2,500 children in Bhopal are suffering from birth defects, a study conducted by an NGO working for Bhopal Gas Tragedy survivors has found.
Thirty doctors from different parts of the country have confirmed that of the total children identified by the NGO, over 1,700 were suffering from congenital anomalies.
The study, conducted by Sambhavana Trust Clinic, also indicates that far too many children were being born with congenital malformations to parents with acute exposure to Methyl Isocyanate (MIC), the toxic gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant on the night of December 2-3, 1984, as compared to those who were not exposed to it.
In the gas leak, NGOs working in the field said, around 30,000 people were killed in the accident and its aftermath and more than 5 lakh people were injured. But according to government records, 3,000 people had died.
The study population includes almost equal number of individuals with four different kinds of exposure history -- exposed to gas in 1984, exposed to contaminated groundwater in and around the now defunct carbide factory where tones of toxic waste of pesticide factory is buried, those exposed to both gas and subsequently water and those unexposed.
The researchers with the clinic collected information on diagnosed cases of TB, cancer, paralysis, reproductive health of women, physical growth, mental and social development of infants and children and birth defects for the last three years.
“We want that the Centre and Madhya Pradesh government identify and treat children with congenital malformations born to parents exposed to the tragedy,” Sambhavna’s managing trustee Satinath Sarangi said on Wednesday.
The clinic that provides free medical care to the survivors of the gas disaster and those exposed to contaminated groundwater around the now defunct Union Carbide factory, has done the study involving over one lakh people from about 20,000 families.
Field coordinator for the study, Ritesh Pal, said while the clinic was still analysing the data, preliminary findings suggested that compared to the population unexposed to the gas leak, the incidence of congenital anomalies was much higher in the population exposed to toxic gas and contaminated groundwater around the factory.