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.”
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
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.