April 17, 2024

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Ohio Train derailment: Dangerous chemicals were discovered in railcars

Ohio Train derailment: Dangerous chemicals were discovered in railcars


Ohio Train derailment: Dangerous chemicals were discovered in railcars.

You may have seen the report in the recent headlines of major media in the United States. But it does deserve our attention.

According to “The Hill”, “New York Post” and other media reports, at around 8:55 pm on February 3, 2023, local time in the United States, a Norfolk Southern train was in a small town near Pennsylvania in eastern Ohio. , East Palestine derailed .

This was not a simple train derailment accident.

It is reported that the accident freight train has about 141 cars, 20 of which are classified as carrying dangerous goods, 14 of which carry 100,000 gallons of vinyl chloride.

Other chemicals include flammable liquids, butyl acrylate, and benzene residues.

Additionally, according to an update this morning, the EPA sent a letter to Norfolk Southern stating that ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate, and isobutylene were also present in derailed, cracked, and flaming railcars.


Ohio Train derailment: Dangerous chemicals were discovered in railcars


Because of the unstable vinyl chloride content of the 5-car carriage, the vehicle was at risk of exploding at any moment, which could send deadly fragments flying into the air.
To prevent an explosion , Norfolk Southern Railways carried out a controlled release of vinyl chloride at around 3:30 pm on February 6.
Vinyl chloride equivalent to 10,000 tons , like poisonous rain, invaded all local buildings, exposed water sources, land and air.
According to the video circulated on social media, the scene of the accident released at that time was full of flames, thick smoke, and billowing smoke.


Local residents, emergency evacuation

Before the release, on the 3rd, the Ohio emergency department evacuated thousands of residents within a mile of the incident from East Palestine , and was ordered not to return until last Wednesday because of the burning of vinyl chloride. impact is still a concern.

Authorities have delineated different levels of affected areas based on local weather conditions and expected release flows, and those who stay in the red area will face a “significant risk of death”.
Those in the yellow zone face “risk of serious injury, including skin burns and severe lung damage”.

The black line represents the overall area of ​​interest that could be affected in the worst case.

About 48 hours after the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board said it initially found that a mechanical problem with an axle in one of the cars caused the derailment.


Vinyl Chloride Burns, How Scary Is It?

Vinyl chloride is a colorless gas used to make polyvinyl chloride, the hard plastic resin in plastic products such as credit cards, auto parts, PVC pipes, and more.

The highest levels of vinyl chloride are typically found in the air near factories where the substance is produced, and workers may be exposed to the gas.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the general population can also be exposed to vinyl chloride through inhalation, and if water sources are contaminated, it can enter the air in homes when water is used.

Vinyl chloride exposure has been linked to a rare type of liver cancer and an increased risk of brain and lung cancer .

Burning it releases phosphorus gas, a poisonous gas that was used as a weapon in World War I, and releases hydrochloride.

In other words, the “strong carcinogen” brought by the explosion may have spread with the rain in the past two days, polluting a large amount of surrounding land, air, and water.


“Vinyl chloride presents a particular and significant risk because it contains a bunch of chlorine molecules that form some very Bad combustion by-products, these are often very toxic and often very persistent in the environment. ”


Official announcement: everything is normal and the crisis is over

The evacuation order for residents of East Palestine was officially lifted on Wednesday after real-time air and water monitoring failed to detect any pollutant levels above screening limits.

“All the readings we’ve recorded in the community are at normal levels and normal backgrounds, which is what you find in almost any community,” EPA Representative James Justice said at a briefing Wednesday .

ImageAt the same time, the authorities also stated that the monitoring and cleaning work on the site may last for several years.


In this regard, the local residents have made a different voice. Some experts say air monitoring should use better equipment, and it’s unclear whether local agencies have enough data to tell residents the air is safe.

Resident Eric Whitining said some nights the air smelled like an over-chlorinated swimming pool and his eyes would burn. “We just have to believe they’re not lying to us.”
Hundreds of local fish died inexplicably!

It is said that the environmental monitoring agency has been monitoring the air and water quality of the surrounding communities, and said that so far everything is normal and the drinking water supply has not been affected.

But the strange phenomenon still happened.

About a week after the train derailed, hundreds of fish were found dead in the East Barystan River in Ohio.

A clip of Ohio officials speaking at a news conference, one of whom acknowledged the impact of the chemical spill on wildlife.

The official further said the groundwater is safe, but environmental mitigation tools are being used to screen for any chemicals that might enter the river.
But worryingly, fish may not be the only ones fatally affected. …

Taylor Holzer, who runs a dairy farm near the evacuation area, told the media that several of his foxes were critically ill, and one of them had a severe cough and diarrhea.

Holzer said other foxes also showed weeping and puffiness, and uncharacteristically refused to eat for days on end. “We’re told the air is safe, but it’s clearly not safe for animals or people.”
Some local residents shared the news that their pet dog also died of a sudden serious illness .

Poultry and birds also died in an area 100 kilometers away from the accident site.

Obviously, the official “safety bulletin” did not reassure everyone.

The CNN reporter sent an email again, breaking the casserole and continuing to ask the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, hoping that the authority can provide exact data on how much of these chemicals leaked into soil and water sources.

But the Ohio EPA said they weren’t sure either.

“Initially, for most environmental spills, it is difficult to determine the exact amount of material that has been released into the air, water and soil. The assessment phase after the emergency is over will help determine this information,” said Ohio EPA media relations manager James wrote in an email to CNN.


Reporter arrested at the scene

Another strange thing is that the accident happened 10 days ago, and the major media in the United States seem to have rarely reported it. It was not until these two days that some reports came out one after another.

And a reporter who reported at the scene of the accident was arrested? ?

The arrested reporter, News Nation correspondent Evan Lambert, was arrested Wednesday for trespassing while attending a news conference about the train derailment, according to reports.

The local police department said in a statement that they asked Lambert to stop his live coverage because of his loud voice, which led to an argument.

Lambert was arrested after refusing to leave the area and released after about five hours in custody, police said.


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Ohio Train derailment: Dangerous chemicals were discovered in railcars

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