Residents File Suit Against Freight Company In Wake Of Ohio Train Derailment

(Photo by DUSTIN FRANZ / AFP) (Photo by DUSTIN FRANZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Residents and business owners in East Palestine, Ohio, have started filing lawsuits against Norfolk Southern after one of the company’s trains derailed on Feb. 3, NPR reported Monday.

The train caught fire and spilled hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride and butyl acrylate into the vicinity. Despite a small evacuation zone being put in place by officials, animals are dying and residents have expressed concerns about their own health. One local father told Prospect his teenage daughter experienced an upper respiratory episode that he attributed to “chemical irritation in her lungs.”

Lawsuits filed by business owners and residents claim that Norfolk Southern was negligent and demand that the company pay for court-supervised medical screenings to track any potential health impacts from exposure to chemicals from the train, according to NPR.

The Environmental Protection Agency claims it has not detected any problems with air quality stemming from the derailment, NPR noted. (RELATED: Decomposing Body Reportedly Found With Biohazard Material, Possible Weapons Of Mass Destruction Plan)

Air cleaners and face masks are said to do little to nothing to prevent harm from chemicals like vinyl chloride, according to one expert who also suggested residents should deep clean their properties and businesses, washing all soft furnishings.

A hazardous materials specialist told local CBS affiliate WKBN that the town was “basically nuked” by the train derailment. Ohio and federal regulators are still assessing the situation, the New York Times reported.