Train Crash Leads To Release of Toxic Chemicals

Train Crash Leads To Release of Toxic Chemicals

( – A train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 3 is being labeled an environmental catastrophe. Residents are now wondering whether their town is safe — and questions about how far the train traveled after catching on fire are swirling.

Roughly 50 freight train cars derailed and caused a large fire. The blaze led to a large-scale evacuation order of the town because of the number of chemicals on board. The train was carrying vinyl chloride, ethylhexyl acrylate, butyl acrylate, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, and isobutylene.

Although officials have said the waterways and air quality weren’t impacted, there are reports of dead fish and residents in one town are being told to wipe down all of the surfaces in their homes.

A town resident, Maura Todd, told The Washington Post that she doesn’t believe it’s safe to return home. She said her family suffered stomach aches and headaches in the days after the accident. Her family is now moving to Kentucky to stay with her family for the time being. Resident Eric Whitining said the air smells so bad his eyes burn. He can’t move his family, so they have returned home.

Sil Caggiano, an expert on hazardous materials, told local news station WKBN, “We basically nuked a town with chemicals so we could get a railroad open.” He said he was surprised that officials have told the town’s residents it’s safe to go back home so soon. He went on to say that the disaster has left him wondering whether cancer clusters will be a problem down the road and suggested the town’s residents should all receive health checkups. Caggiano said the doctor appointment is important so those impacted can get their health status on record now, which will help them if they develop issues down the road.

At least four lawsuits have been filed against Norfolk Southern, the company that owned the train. One of the suits is asking for medical monitoring and to be compensated for emotional distress. The company isn’t commenting on the lawsuits.

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