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What do we know about the Ohio train derailment and toxic chemical spill?

A train carrying hazardous materials bound for Illinois from Pennsylvania derailed in early February. big fire Warns of an imminent possible explosion. The situation, despite reassurances from authorities, has left locals uneasy and highlights how vulnerable many Americans are to similar incidents.

Up to 2,000 residents living in the immediate vicinity evacuated Chemicals carried on trains operated by the Norfolk Southern Corporation release to prevent explosions.

Evacuated residents returned to their homes last week, but residents are concerned about the lingering effects of chemicals in air, water and soil, even though authorities overseeing the area deem it safe. are reporting. Authorities are investigating the potential long-term environmental impact of the derailment.

Here’s what we know about the derailment and chemical release so far:

what happened

On the night of Friday, February 3, at least 50 out of 150 cars on a train from Conway, Pennsylvania to Madison, Illinois derailed. Train derails in eastern Palestine Ohio, a town of about 5,000 on the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania. A massive fire broke out that spanned the length of the derailed vehicle. No injuries or fatalities have been reported.

Residents within a mile radius of the derailment were evacuated after authorities said more than a dozen cars laden with vinyl chloride, a carcinogenic chemical, were involved in the derailment and may have been exposed to fire. .

On Monday, Feb. 6, as fears of explosions rose, authorities enacted a mandatory evacuation and threatened to arrest residents who refused to evacuate. said.the crew is over release Toxic chemicals were sprayed from five derailed tankers to prevent explosions. A small hole was cut in the train car and the chemicals were released into the pit and set on fire. Pictures of the chemical release showed huge clouds of black smoke billowing over the house.

Displaced residents who were staying in shelters and schools were allowed to return to their homes on Wednesday, February 8, after authorities determined air and water samples were safe for residents.

which chemicals were released

The chemical of most concern that the derailed train was carrying was vinyl chloride, which is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a hard resin used in plastic products. Vinyl chloride is colorless and highly flammable. It is associated not only with rare forms of liver cancer, but also with other types of cancer such as leukemia and lung cancer. exposure can lead to hospitalization and death. Another chemical on board was butyl acrylate, which is also used in plastic manufacturing.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) later announced information It showed that three previously unreported chemicals were also released during the derailment: ethylhexyl acrylate, isobutylene, and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether. Exposure to chemicals can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, burning skin and eyes, coughing, headache, and nausea.

Overall, EPA reports five chemicals What was included in railcars that were “derailed, damaged and/or caught fire”. letter The agency wrote to Norfolk Southern.

Investigation of derailments and chemical releases

The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates major rail accidents, said failure of an axle (the bar that connects the wheels of two trains) caused the derailment.Surveillance camera picture The Salem, Ohio manufacturer indicated a fire had started under the train before it reached eastern Palestine. An investigation into the derailment is still ongoing.

Meanwhile, the EPA actively monitors the environmental situation in Eastern Palestine and surrounding towns.Residents sign up For any home screening by agency. As of Feb. 13, the EPA found no vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride (chemicals released by burning vinyl chloride) in his 291 inspected homes, and 181 homes awaiting inspection. was Officials told residents that monitoring had shown that drinking water in the area was safe.

concerns from residents

Residents near the derailment have reported multiple health symptoms, including: nausea Burning sensation in the eyes. A resident of a town ten miles (10 miles) north of eastern Palestine said: local TV news station Six chickens died suddenly the day after the chemical release. Another nearby resident report See dead fish floating in the local stream.the expert is express concern Authorities have not tested other chemicals that may have been produced by burning toxic materials.

local business owners and residents bring the action Norfolk Southern is making efforts to have the company cover medical examinations for residents within a 30-mile radius of the derailment. The lawsuit alleges that the company “failed to take reasonable precautions to protect” local residents who were “exposed to toxic substances, toxic gases and carcinogens.”

The EPA warned Norfolk Southern that it could be held responsible for costs associated with the derailment, including cleanup and preventive efforts.

The history of toxic digressions goes back a decade

It is reportedly home to 25 million Americans. zone vulnerable fatal derailment Of trains carrying toxic substances, including substances that can cause explosions.

Exactly 10 years ago, in November 2012, a similar Derailment New Jersey released 23,000 gallons of vinyl chloride into the environment. According to investigative media, the incident sparked a move for more regulation by the rail industry on how it handles the transportation of toxic substances, including crude oil and toxic chemicals. leverThe move eventually led to legislation requiring trains carrying toxic materials to be retrofitted with an electronic braking system that brakes the entire train instantly, rather than braking back and forth like conventional brakes. I was.

The Trump administration withdrew the rule after pressure from lobbyists who said the change would be costly for railroad companies.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/feb/15/ohio-train-derailment-palestine-toxic-chemical-leak What do we know about the Ohio train derailment and toxic chemical spill?

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