New Delhi, India — A state health minister said today that 36 pregnant women spontaneously aborted and that six gave births to deformed babies after the toxic gas leak at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal last December.

Autopsies conducted on 27 other stillborn babies indicated the possibility that their deaths were caused by methyl isocyanate gas that leaked from the pesticide plant, said Balendu Shukla, the Madhya Pradesh state public health minister.

The figures on the spontaneous abortions and birth deformities were based on examinations of patients and hospital records and interviews with victims by the Indian Council of Medical Research, Shukla said, speaking at the state legislature.

Private groups had claimed there were hundreds of abortions, stillbirths and birth of deformed babies following the chemical disaster.

The council, the country’s premier medical body, is conducting several projects in Bhopal to study the effect of the toxic gas on pregnant women, children, lungs, heart, blood and vegetation.

Article extracted from this publication >>  July 19, 1985