Just after midnight on December 3, 1984, a gas leak occurred at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. A vigorous chemical reaction inside a methyl isocyanate (MIC) storage tank, nicknamed the "Black Box", caused most of the material to vaporize and escape. Within days, over two thousand nearby residents were confirmed dead and tens of thousands exposed to toxic gases, which would cause them untold pain and health problems for years to come.
The Black Box of Bhopal is a highly researched work that will challenge many of the public's assumptions about the disaster. It reveals new documents related to the construction and operations of the MIC plant and the internal workings of Union Carbide Corporation and its Indian subsidiary. It also critically analyzes the Indian government investigation report about the postulated cause of the gas leak. Through extensive explanation of the plant's history, scientific studies of the residue from the tank, and several flaws in the subsequent government controlled investigation, a clearer understanding of the events will be revealed that may surprise many readers.
" This insightful book stretches from an explanation of how economic and political development in India contributed to the accident through the detailed chemistry involved.... The strength of D'Silva's book is the integration of original documentation...that demostrates just how complex the relationships were between Union Carbide; Union Carbide India Ltd. (UCIL), the subsidiary that operated the Bhopal plant; the Indian federal government and the local government.... D'Silva's book is an excellent Bhopal resource."
Book review by Ronald J. Willey, professor of chemical engineering at Northeastern University. Chemical & Engineering News, American Chemical Society.
See the full review here