Visakhapatnam

Experts suggest long-term health assessment of gas leak victims

File photo shows smoke rising from LG Polymers plant in Visakhapatnam.   | Photo Credit: AP

A panel of experts in a webinar on ‘Justice for Vizag’ organised by the Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV) for the victims of LG Polymers styrene monomer vapour leak on Tuesday, suggested that committees should be formed to monitor the health condition of those exposed to the vapour leak for short term, intermediate and long term.

The incident on May 7 at LG Polymers at RR Venkatapuram near here led to the death of 12 people and hospitalising of over 580.

Editorial | On Visakhapatnam gas leak

Dr. Ramana Dhara from the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, said that profiling of the victims should be done based on age and gender and their blood and urine samples should be tested periodically, to determine their health condition. They should also be subjected to psychological and neurological study.

‘Lung edema’

According to him, the people who died after the gas leak showed symptoms of lung edema and chemical inflammation and hence monitoring protocol should be guided by exposure information such as what type of toxins were released, total amount of toxins in the air and area of spread.

Also read | Vizag gas leak: An avoidable tragedy

Dr. Dhara suggested the establishment of a permanent health authority with participatory approach and registration of the exposed population for periodic monitoring.

Dr. K. Babu Rao, retired chief scientist of the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) and a social activist and founding member of Scientists for People said that such exposure to styrene monomer never happened in the world so far. It was important that the level of exposure should be assessed and health monitoring should be based on it, he said.

Plant shifting

On whether the chemical plant should be shifted, Dr. Domyung Paek from the Department of Environmental Health Science, Seoul National University, said that shifting of the plant might not be a solution but concrete steps should be taken to see that such incidents did not occur in the future.The seminar was moderated by Ram Charitra Sah, environmentalist from Nepal.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 7:14:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/experts-suggest-long-term-health-assessment-of-gas-leak-victims/article32331929.ece

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