Union Carbide Chemical Leak West Virginia

Event Year: 1985 Reliability: Confirmed
Country: United States
Industry Type: Chemical

The Institute facility leaked methylene chloride and aldicarb oxime, chemicals used to manufacture the pesticide Temik. The leak resulted from a computer program that was not yet programmed to recognize aldicarb oxime, compounded by human error when the operator misinterpreted the results of the program to imply the presence of methyl isocyanate (as in Bhopal). (#3)


One hundred and thirty four people were were sent to the hospital, six of whom where Union Carbide employees.  Thirty people filed two lawsuits seeking $88 million in damages, but hundreds of people marched in support of the company.  OSHA proposed fines of $32,100 for endangering workers, though later agreed to having Union Carbide pay $4,400 if it bought an accident simulator for training workers. (#1)

Action Description: Union Carbide spent $5 million to improve safety systems, but two more leaks occurred in February 1990. (#1)