Corporate and Governmental Responsibilities for Preventing Chemical Disasters: Lessons from Bhopal

Ingrid Eckerman, Tom Børsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

In the evening of December 2 nd, 1984, a series of unfortunate events led to 43 tons of methyl isocyanate being vaporized and spread over the city of Bhopal in central India. The accident, which continued throughout the early hours of December 3 rd, resulted in the deaths of several thousand people and left hundreds of thousands more with permanent injuries. The Bhopal toxic leakage is widely regarded as the largest chemical industrial disaster in the world. It is also one of the most publicly scrutinized disasters, leading to vivid evidence about the threat to public health posed by the chemical production industry. This paper argues that Union Carbide Corporation, through its local subsidiary Union Carbide India Limited, as well as the governments of India and Madhya Pradesh, are those who were most accountable for the leakage. Furthermore, the paper shows that several ethical rules such as: the Golden Rule, the human rights to safety, the precautionary principle, and the principles for a sustainable society were violated. In the final sections, the paper discusses the measures that should be taken to prevent future exposure to toxic chemical substances which may occur due to accidents at chemical production facilities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHyle - International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry
Volume24
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)29-53
Number of pages25
ISSN1433-5158
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Fingerprint

Disasters
Poisons
Carbides
Accidents
Industrial chemicals
Public health
Industry
Disaster
Responsibility
India
methyl isocyanate
Chemical Substances
Government
Human Rights
Public Health
Threat
Precautionary Principle
Safety
Golden Rule
Subsidiaries

Keywords

  • Bhopal disaster
  • Chemical industry
  • Corporate ethics
  • Human rights
  • Methyl isocyanate (MIC)
  • Sustainability

Cite this

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title = "Corporate and Governmental Responsibilities for Preventing Chemical Disasters: Lessons from Bhopal",
abstract = "In the evening of December 2 nd, 1984, a series of unfortunate events led to 43 tons of methyl isocyanate being vaporized and spread over the city of Bhopal in central India. The accident, which continued throughout the early hours of December 3 rd, resulted in the deaths of several thousand people and left hundreds of thousands more with permanent injuries. The Bhopal toxic leakage is widely regarded as the largest chemical industrial disaster in the world. It is also one of the most publicly scrutinized disasters, leading to vivid evidence about the threat to public health posed by the chemical production industry. This paper argues that Union Carbide Corporation, through its local subsidiary Union Carbide India Limited, as well as the governments of India and Madhya Pradesh, are those who were most accountable for the leakage. Furthermore, the paper shows that several ethical rules such as: the Golden Rule, the human rights to safety, the precautionary principle, and the principles for a sustainable society were violated. In the final sections, the paper discusses the measures that should be taken to prevent future exposure to toxic chemical substances which may occur due to accidents at chemical production facilities.",
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Corporate and Governmental Responsibilities for Preventing Chemical Disasters : Lessons from Bhopal. / Eckerman, Ingrid; Børsen, Tom.

In: Hyle - International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry, Vol. 24, No. 1, 10.2018, p. 29-53.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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