Today is the 20th anniversary of the methyl isocyanate at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India. The initial release killed at least 10,000 people (some sources say upwards of 20,000) near the plant (many in their sleep) and health effects are continuing to surface amongst the survivors and their children. Some estimate that over 120,000 have been affected from the exposure.

Methyl isocyanate, or MIC, is one of those "lovely" chemicals that's a hazmat guy or gal's nightmare. Its highly toxic, a strong irritant, flammable, reactive, gives of hydrogen cyanide when burned, and has bothmutagenic and teratogenic properties.

To this day, you can say "Bhopal" to most anyone in the safety business, and they know instantly what you're talking about. It was one of the major driving forces behind OSHA's Process Safety Management regulation for chemical processing facilities and its legacy is taught in most every safety degree program around the country (and most likely the world).