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Toxic gas kills 11 in Ludhiana

  • Published
    1st May, 2023
Context

At least 11 people have died following a gas leak in Ludhiana, Punjab. The death is due to the inhalation of neurotoxic gas.

What is Neurotoxicity?

  • Neuro-toxicity occurs when exposure to natural or manmade toxic substances (neurotoxicants) alters the normal activity of the nervous system that includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. 
  • Nerve cells, or neurons, communicate with each other through a series of electrical and chemical signals and are at the greatest risk of damage from neurotoxins because of their high metabolic rate.
  • Neuro-toxic substances can damage nerve cell function by modifying the structure of the cell membrane, which controls the passage of ions into and out of the neuron. 
  • As a result, the electrical activity of the neuron may change. 
  • Furthermore, neurotoxins can prevent neurotransmitters from being released or taken up by other neurons, thereby preventing their production or release. 
  • Neurotransmitters are responsible for signal transmission between neurons.

Industrial gas leaks in India

  • Industrial gas leaks are not rare in India.
  • Three years ago a gas leak at a chemical plant killed at least 12 people in the city of Visakhapatnam, in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • In 1984 a chemical leak in a pesticide plant in the central city of Bhopal killed thousands of people, in what is acknowledged to be the world's worst industrial disaster.
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