Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 18, pp 18208–18229 | Cite as

Exposure index of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas disaster and a comprehensive spectrum of cytogenetic analysis after 30 years

  • Bani Bandana GangulyEmail author
Research Article


Severity of clinical expression and high mortality could not facilitate establishing exposure index/association following MIC disaster in Bhopal. Mortality-based exposure stratification was critiqued by the International Medical Commission on Bhopal (IMCB). IMCB stratified exposure considering distance as surrogate at 2 km intervals after 10 years. The first follow-up cytogenetic screening of the pre-screened survivors after 30 years has demonstrated chromosome abnormalities (CA). Exposure stratification was attempted considering cytogenetic screening conducted during 1986–1988. Elevation of CA appeared proportional to exposure status and authenticated the initial mortality-based stratification. The one-on-one comparison of the previous and present cytogenetics has described the individual response to MIC exposure over 30 years. Chi-square test has been carried out for checking the cytogenetic changes at the individual level statistically, which revealed that differences of chromosomal aberrations collected immediately post-disaster and 30 years later are nonsignificant. The prominence of interindividual variation was noticed in general. The impact of overall exposure was higher in males. Constitutional abnormalities in 8.5% of the study population, including translocation, inversion, deletion, fragile sites, etc., necessitate screening of blood-linked members. The incidence of acrocentric association was prominent in the study population. Normal karyotype in children born to severely exposed parents with congenital anomalies indicates necessity of molecular karyotyping and/or screening of mutations. The study highlights follow-up of the health of the index cases at shorter (3–6 months) intervals. This comprehensive spectrum of cytogenetic report highlights immediate post-disaster chromosomal aberrations, the changes that occurred over 30 years in conjunction with other environmental factors at the individual level, constitutive genomic aberrations, polymorphic variations, and chromosomal patterns in congenitally malformed children of the survivors, which collectively indicate the possibility of acquisition/persistence of stable aberrations in MIC-exposed lymphocytes through interaction with environmental/biological confounders.


Exposure index of MIC disaster Comprehensive cytogenetic spectrum Constitutive abnormalities Children with congenital malformation 



The author gratefully acknowledges the administrative support of the National Institute for Research in Environmental Health (NIREH), Bhopal. The author also acknowledges Dr. Nitin N. Kadam, MGM New Bombay Hospital, Navi Mumbai for extending laboratory facilities for the entire investigation.

Funding information

The author gratefully acknowledges the financial support (grant no. ICMR-65/BBG-1/NCD-II & NIREH/IMP/BBG/2013/01) of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MGM Center for Genetic Research & DiagnosisMGM New Bombay HospitalNavi MumbaiIndia

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