1676587333 Ohio Train Crash Residents Fear for Their Health

Ohio Train Crash: Residents Fear for Their Health

50 of around 140 cars on a freight train operated by operator Norfolk Southern derailed on the night of 4 February. Twenty of the cars contained chemicals, five of which contained the toxic substance vinyl chloride. Several of the tankers caught fire. To avoid an explosion, the authorities decided to ventilate and burn the vinyl chloride. The region was evacuated within a radius of 1.6 kilometers. Video footage showed huge clouds of black smoke rising into the air.

“Four 7.5 miles of waterways are contaminated,” said Mary Mertz, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. “We estimate about 3,500 dead fish in this area, in these streams, tributaries and waterways, based on our sampling and modeling,” said Mertz. None of the 12 affected species are endangered or threatened, but it’s still a loss for wildlife.

Dead fish are taken out of the river

Portal/Alan Freed About 3,500 fish are believed to have died, mostly small ones like minnows and gourami

lengthy investigations

A mechanical problem in the axle of a wagon is suspected to be the cause of the derailment. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it has video footage that appears to show a wheel bearing overheating shortly before the derailment. The NTSB expects its preliminary report in about two weeks. It will take longer for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take stock: while an initial report on the accident should be available in four to six weeks, a final investigation could only take about two years.

Norfolk Southern announced this week that it would create a $1 million fund to support the community of approximately 4,700 people. At the same time, cleanup efforts will continue, removing chemicals from soil and streams and monitoring air quality.

Furthermore, the number of residents who can be reimbursed for evacuation costs will be expanded to include the entire village and its surroundings. “We will be judged by our actions,” said Alan Shaw, President and CEO of Norfolk Southern. At the moment, the verdict is extremely unfavorable.

Anger of rail operators

An information evening was held in East Palestine on Wednesday, in which the concerned population had the opportunity to exchange ideas with representatives of local authorities, state and federal government. The big absentee of the night was Norfolk Southern – the company canceled shortly before the event over concerns about the safety of its employees.

USA: Population after train crash worries

After the rail accident, in which several carriages of a freight train derailed and some caught fire, there is great uncertainty among the population of the village of East Palestine, in the US state of Ohio. The city administration tried to calm people down and answer open questions through a specially convened citizens’ forum. However, the full extent and consequences of the accident cannot yet be predicted. In early February, 50 of the freight train’s 140 cars derailed and some caught fire. Ten of the carriages were loaded with dangerous goods, including five with carcinogenic vinyl chloride.

Local resident Chris Wallace, who has yet to make it back to his home by a creek, told the BBC that many citizens had long been concerned about the speed of trains crossing East Palestine and the potential dangers worried about staff exhaustion. “They should be here to answer questions,” he said. “You have a lot to hide. They don’t want us to know anything.” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told Norfolk Southern this week that his agency is considering legal action.

wagons on fire

AP/Gene J. Puskar Fears of long-term effects in eastern Palestine are high

All clear no credit is given

The authorities did everything right. 456 homes were examined for chemical residues. Nothing was found. According to authorities, no critical residues were discovered in the air or water. But locals don’t believe it: photos of dead farm animals and pets circulate on social media. Also, people complain of a pungent odor.

Vinyl chloride burned in the train wreck can trigger a range of symptoms when inhaled – from headaches, blurred vision and insomnia to numbness in the hands and feet and heart arrhythmia. It is also carcinogenic and can have harmful effects on humans, animals or plants if it comes into contact with water. In fact, residents of East Palestine have complained about everything from headaches to numbness and bloody stools.

toxic mixture

However, several chemicals escaped during the accident and consequently found their way into the air and surrounding area. According to Spektrum.de, the environmental authority EPA published a list of other substances that, according to its investigations, were transported in the wagons: 2-butoxyethanol, ethylhexyl acrylate and isobutene. Ethylhexyl acrylate irritates the eyes and skin and causes coughing, isobutene causes dizziness and drowsiness. Such a large fire also releases numerous substances. Therefore, it is not possible to draw conclusions about a specific chemical from individual symptoms.