WASHINGTON — Records at Union Carbide's West Virginia plant show there were 28 leaks during the last five years of the same insecticide that killed 2,500 people in Bhopal, India, the government said Wednesday.
The Environmental Protection Agency said that it has not yet determined whether the releases of methyl isocyanate were contained within the Institute, W. Va., plant or whether any reached the outside environment. Its investigation is continuing, the agency said.
"The spills that were detected, while of course a terrible concern, were not the same types of leaks (as the one at Bhopal)," said EPA spokesman Dave Cohen.
"Yet 28 leaks of that stuff, however minor, are unsettling," he added. "But they appear to have been dealt with in a proper manner."
Nevertheless, he noted that the plant failed to meet a legal requirement to report some of the larger leaks to the EPA.
The leaks, which records indicate occurred between 1980 and 1984, were disclosed in a report in which the agency said its officials had found "only minor violations" at the Institute plant.
But the document said officials continued to review the release of the insecticide and that they have requested further information from Union Carbide, based in Danbury, Conn.