Government health officials on the state and federal level are continuing to lie to the American public about the severity of the massive spill and burnoff of highly toxic chemicals following a major train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier this month.
The lack of answers regarding health effects and accountability continues to frustrate hundreds of people who were evacuated. This frustration is due to the uncertainties surrounding the evaluation of health risks by government leaders and scientists and the short- and long-term health effects associated with exposure to vinyl chloride or other chemicals.
While scientists can estimate risks and provide opinions, the health outcomes of those exposed to vinyl chloride in the aftermath of the accident remain unknown. The affected individuals want to know what will happen to their health or the health of their children as a result of the incident, notes a report from the Center for Health, Environment & Justice.
The report notes further:
Here’s what we do know. We know that vinyl chloride is a human carcinogen and that it damages the liver and central nervous system; over 1,500 people living within a 1-mile by 2-mile area of the accident were evacuated; that Norfolk Southern opted to release and burn the vinyl chloride from all five derailed tankers releasing deadly fumes into the air to prevent a potentially disastrous explosion (see photo); that the state acted swiftly in evacuating the homes immediately surrounding the site of the accident; that 38 of the 150 cars being pulled by the train derailed; about 20 rail cars were carrying hazardous materials including five with vinyl chloride; other chemicals included butyl acrylate, ethyl hexyl acrylate and ethylene glycol mono-butyl ether.
We also know that several days after the accident, most people are back in their homes with assurances from the local authorities that everything is fine.
Indeed, they are not.
According to researchers from Texas A&M University and Carnegie Mellon University, despite officials’ assurances that the air and water in the town is safe, residents affected by the train derailment and subsequent chemical fallout in East Palestine, Ohio, could face a range of long-term health complications due to prolonged exposure to toxic substances, according to the Daily Wire.
One of the chemicals released in the accident was vinyl chloride, a known human carcinogen used in the production of PVC. The massive plumes of black smoke from the five train cars were visible throughout eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Researchers said of the roughly 50 chemicals present on the derailed train, nine of them have higher concentrations than usual in East Palestine. The researchers are particularly worried about above-normal levels of acrolein, a substance with a strong odor that is considered “highly toxic” when inhaled, according to a CDC report. Other chemicals charted at abnormally high levels included benzene, naphthalene, and vinyl chloride. “If these levels continue, they may be of health concern,” said the researchers.
The Daily Wire noted further:
The findings come after the EPA said that “test results from the village’s municipal well sampling showed no water quality concerns,” while Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) announced that tests conducted by the Ohio EPA revealed “no detection of contaminants in raw water from the five wells that feed into East Palestine’s municipal water system.” Governor Josh Shapiro (D-PA) likewise remarked in a recent interview that tests of municipal water supplies and wells have not shown any “concerning readings” of hazardous chemicals.
The EPA was informed by Norfolk Southern, the company responsible for the train derailment, that in addition to vinyl chloride, several other volatile chemicals, including ethylene glycol monobutyl ether and ethylhexyl acrylate were present at the accident site. However, the EPA released the full list of substances only after residents were told that it was safe to return to their homes, leading to criticism of the handling of the situation.
Once again, Americans cannot get a straight answer from those we elected and entrust to do the right thing by us.