By Sarah Iqbal
New Delhi: As per a new study, the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy continue to suffer damage in their DNA.
Methyl isocyanate, which released from the Union Carbide plant in December 1984, is known to damage human DNA by interacting with proteins. Such damage was recorded in studies done by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in years following the gas leak.
Now a team of scientists from MGM New Bombay Hospital has performed fresh tests on people who were exposed to MIC and found that the damage continues. Researchers used the same categorization that was used by ICMR – people were grouped as severely exposed, moderately exposed or unexposed. Blood samples of 156 persons were collected for this study. Of this, 130 samples gave readable data and anomalies detected were classified, and results compared with ICMR screening performed between 1985- 1988.
The study has shown two trends. Even though people who were severely exposed to the gas now possess fewer abnormal cells, the frequency of aberrations within such cells has increased with time. Another finding was increase in chromosomal aberrations even in people who were not exposed or moderately exposed to the gas.