BHOPAL, Madhya Pradesh, India — In the dim light of her two-room shack opposite the site of one of the world's worst industrial disasters, the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984, Leelabai Ahirwar delivers a quiet account of the event that ruined her life.
“I myself am still affected by the gas,” the 45-year-old mother of four says. “I suffer from chest pains, and I often feel like I'm about to die. But my children are worse off. My daughter is anemic and her body swells up mysteriously, and my son, Jagdish, never grew properly, so he looks like he is only 14 years old, even though he is almost 22.”