New Delhi — Nearly 25 percent of the babies born in the past two months to mothers affected by the poison gas leak in Bhopal died soon after birth, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The Hindustan Times, New Delhi’s largest circulation English language daily, also quoted hospital sources as saying as many as 30 percent of the babies born to mothers in the worst hit areas had low birth weights.

More than 2,000 people were killed and 100,000 affected when methyl isocyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal on Dec. 3.

The Hindustan Times said doctors were surprised by the high infant mortality rate because they had thought the poison gas would not harm fetuses.

However, the newspaper said doctors had not yet established a direct link between the gas and the infant deaths and low birth weights.

The Times said the findings indicated either that the gas itself was responsible or that the fetuses were affected by the extensive quantity of drugs and medication used by pregnant women to treat the effects of the gas.

Article extracted from this publication >>  February 22, 1985