A number of harmful chemicals were reportedly discovered in the vicinity of a train derailment that occurred in early February in East Palestine, Ohio.
The Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to the rail company, stating that evidence of ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethlyhexyl acrylate and isobutylene were within the cars that derailed, breached, and/or caught fire, according to a WKBN report published Sunday.
It is believed that a mechanical defect caused the roughly fifty-car Norfolk Southern train to derail on the first Friday of February, causing an enormous fire that took crews from three states to battle over the course of a weekend. As a result of hazardous materials inside the cars, some 2,000 residents living within a one-mile radius of the derailment were asked to evacuate.
At least one of the chemicals is a significant carcinogen, causing burning and irritation to the skin and eyes, as well as the nose and throat if inhaled. Another can cause dizziness and drowsiness.
“We basically nuked a town with chemicals so we could get a railroad open,” Hazardous materials specialist Silverado Caggiano told WKBN. “I was surprised when they quickly told the people they can go back home, but then said if they feel like they want their homes tested they can have them tested. I would’ve far rather they did all the testing.”
The train also reportedly held vinyl chloride and hydrogen chloride. While officials have said “there is no indication that any potential exposure that occurred after the derailment increase the risk of cancer or any other long-term health effects in our community members,” experts such as Caggiano have balked at the statement.
There is currently an ecological disaster in Ohio, and no one in the media is speaking about it. pic.twitter.com/8yzBf7cXCB
— American Virtue (@AmVirtueOrg) February 12, 2023
Animals around the derailment site and falling sick, and many are dying well outside of the evacuation zone, according to the New York Post. (RELATED: Explosion At Google Data Center In Iowa Causes Major Outages, Three People In Critical Condition)
Caggiano recommended that residents of East Palestine should get a health check-up and ensure records show exactly where individual health stands at this moment in time so residents can have clear evidence of any significant health effects moving forward.
“There’s a lot of what ifs, and we’re going to be looking at this thing 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the line and wondering, ‘Gee, cancer clusters could pop up, you know, well water could go bad,'” Caggiano noted.
A water utility in West Virginia used by residents in Ohio is improving its water treatment process and creating an alternate back-up system, according to The Associated Press.