The Black Box of Bhopal

A Closer Look at the World's Deadliest Industrial Disaster




Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 10/9/2007

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 270
ISBN : 9781412084123

About the Book

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

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About the Author

The author is an internationally recognized scientist who holds over 65 U.S. patents, primarily in the area of MIC-derived biologically active compounds and has authored or co-authored several scientific publications. Subsequent to the Bhopal tragedy, he was a member of the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) investigation team. From the experiments to replicate the residue left inside the MIC storage tank and the study of the chemistry, the team has unraveled the real cause of the gas leak and exposed the cover-up subsequent to the incident. Details of these studies have been published in the book - The Black Box of Bhopal - and in scientific journals of which he is the principal author. Dr. D'Silva is a member of the American Chemical Society and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The two peer-reviewed publications related to the MIC chemistry which occured in the ill-fated Bhopal tank can be perused by visiting the web sites shown below:
1. Studies of methyl isocyanate chemistry in the Bhopal incident.
(This paper discloses the laboratory studies carried out to replicate the tank E-610 residue and the chemistry involved. These experiments determined that a large quantity of water entered the tank and triggered the reaction that forced out the gases produced in the tank.)

2. Studies of Reactions of 1,3,5-Trimethylbiuret and 1,3-dimethylurea with Chloroform.
(This paper discloses the novel chemistry that occured in tank E-610.)