Following a railway disaster earlier this month that discharged poisonous chemicals, residents of East Palestine, Ohio have been permitted to return to their homes, but they have discovered dead fish in local rivers and streams and a lingering chemical odor. Officials burned the chemicals to get rid of them after the disaster.
According to preliminary assessments, five of the derailed railway carriages were carrying vinyl chloride, a colorless gas that is used in the production of PVC plastics. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has determined that the permissible level of worker exposure is 1 part per million for a shift that lasts 8 hours.
According to the National Cancer Institute, being exposed to vinyl chloride is associated with an increased chance of developing a rare form of liver cancer in addition to an increased risk of developing brain and lung cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia.
Despite this, further investigations have shown that a total of three more chemicals were on board the Norfolk Southern train that crashed.
According to WKBN, the United States Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to Norfolk Southern claiming that the derailed train carriages also included ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate, and isobutylene. This information was included in the letter.
According to Sil Caggiano, an expert in hazardous materials, ethylhexyl acrylate is a particularly dangerous chemical since it is a carcinogen, and contact with the chemical may cause burning and irritation of the skin and eyes. This information was provided to WKBN. Inhaling it may cause irritation to the nasal passages and the throat, as well as create chest tightness and a cough.
When breathed, isobutylene is known to produce symptoms such as dizziness and sleepiness.
Caggiano recommended to WKBN that people of East Palestine undergo medical examinations as soon as possible, so that it may be documented how their health is at the present time and so that it can be used to document the long-term impacts of the train crash.
The authorities started burning off the chemicals on February 6 as part of a controlled release of chemicals, which was done to lessen the possibility of an explosion caused by vinyl chloride.
As a result of the sudden appearance of hundreds of dead fish in the streams nearby, people in the area are becoming more anxious that the local water supply has been poisoned.
KOKA was informed by a local resident named Russel Murphy that there were “hundreds” of dead fish in the creek known as Leslie Run, which is situated in East Palestine. About 48 hours after the fire was started, the first signs of the dead fish began to appear.
As per NewsNation, environmental officials in the neighboring towns have been analyzing the air and water and have reported that the air quality has not been compromised and that there has been no impact on the drinking water.
Residents have reported to NewsNation that in addition to the dead fish, there have been sightings of ill animals in the area around their houses. WKBN was informed by a resident of North Lima who lives there that her hens had passed away and that she smells chlorine in the air.
Nick Drom noted that vinyl chloride is “very hazardous and very flammable” in one of the videos that he uploaded to TikTok. He also mentioned that the liquid form of the chemical was how it was transported. He said that a hydrogen chloride byproduct was produced as a result of lighting the chemical on fire.
This byproduct has the ability to readily attach itself to water molecules, including the water molecules that are present in the atmosphere, resulting in the formation of hydrochloric acid.
Drom, who said that he finds the study of industrial accidents to be “fascinating,” stating that “there are a couple of things that are pretty universal” throughout the spectrum of industrial accidents. According to him, the responsible party always “plays down the reality of the situation,” which is something that politicians and news outlets keep repeating. So far, the only thing we have is the word of the responsible party, he adds.
A individual who claims to have grown up near East Palestine has submitted a video on TikTok in which they say that friends have sent him recordings showing “a really pretty chemical rainbow sheen” on the surface of the water around areas where dead fish have been found.
“The chemicals are in the f*cking water and they’re lying to the rest of the country saying they’re not. The water’s been contaminated, the soil’s been contaminated, the f*cking air is contaminated. You literally are about to see some of the worst f*cking health side effects coming out of people in that town, it’s not even funny,” they claimed, adding that FEMA and the Red Cross never came to the town.
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