Ex-Union Carbide boss Anderson dies

p6117World-News-6-1

Published: Friday 31st October 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Warren M Anderson, who was the head of Union Carbide when a chemical leak killed thousands of people in India in 1984, has died in Florida at the age of 92.

His death was not announced but was confirmed by the Associated Press through public records.

The records say Mr Anderson died at a nursing home in Vero Beach, Florida, on September 29. No cause of death was given.

Mr Anderson ran Union Carbide in December 1984 when a pesticide plant run by a subsidiary leaked about 40 tons of deadly gas in the Indian city of Bhopal, killing about 4,000 people.

Many more died in the following months, bringing the estimated death toll to 15,000.

The Indian government said at least 500,000 people were affected through direct injuries or birth defects.

Mr Anderson was running Union Carbide when, on the morning of December 3 1984, a pesticide plant run by one of its subsidiaries leaked about 40 tons of deadly methyl isocyanate gas into the air of the Indian city of Bhopal, killing about 4,000 people. Many more died in the following months, bringing the estimated death toll to 15,000.

In all, at least 500,000 people were affected, with either direct injuries or birth defects blamed on the leak, the Indian government said.

Just after the disaster, Mr Anderson travelled to India, where he was briefly arrested. He left the country while free on bail.

But the disaster, and its lingering effects, remains an open wound in India, where many consider Union Carbide’s 470 million US dollars settlement with the Indian government an insult. Union Carbide is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Co.

The Indian government made a renewed push to extradite Mr Anderson, then 90, from the United States in 2011, but it never went anywhere. Prosecutors wanted to try him on culpable homicide charges.

In a 2009 interview with the Associated Press, his wife, Lillian, said: “He’s been haunted for many years” by the disaster.

She said her husband was unfairly targeted.

“Every time somebody wanted to sue the company there would be some kind of a thing that happened and they would be chasing after Warren, following him to the dump with our trash,” she said. “This is 25 years of unfair treatment, before CEOs were paid what they’re paid today.”

The company has maintained that the leak was caused by employee sabotage. Activists blame lax safety standards or faulty plant design.

In addition to property in Vero Beach, records show that Mr Anderson owned homes in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Bridgehampton, New York.

Published: Friday 31st October 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search