New study reveals widespread effects of East Palestine train derailment

Explosion after train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio

Explosion after train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio

A new study has documented widespread lasting effects of the devastating Norfolk Southern train derailment that occurred in East Palestine, Ohio, in early February 2023.

The study was conducted by IOPScience using precipitation chemistry measurements collected by the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, or NADP. It estimated that the extent of deposited compounds due to the derailment extended from the Midwest to the Northeast and as far as Canada, while going as far south as North Carolina.

The study notes that in total, portions of 16 states have been impacted, covering an area of roughly 540,000 square miles and affecting around 110 million people.

At the time of the derailment, the train was pulling around 50 tanks, hoppers and box cars – of which 38 were derailed, and at least 11 of which were carrying hazardous materials that were subsequently ignited by the fire department, and burned over a period of several days.

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Hazardous materials involved in the crash included vinyl chloride, petroleum lube oil, polyethylene, polyvinyl, polypropylene, propylene glycol, diethylene glycol, ethylhexyl acrylate, butyl acrylates, isobutylene and fuel additives.

Researchers found that during the week of the accident, pH levels measured by NADP ranged from 6.4 to 7.3 pH units in the north and east. They further noted that pH levels this high are rarely seen in weekly measurements, have never been observed consistently “over multiple sites in any one particular week” and likely extended into southern Canada.

Michigan and Wisconsin also had high pH values, as well as a few locations in Indiana and Virginia. Researchers found high levels of chloride, as well as elevated base cations sodium, potassium, and calcium. Very high concentrations of ammonium were detected close to the accident site and into New York.

“It is very clear that extreme concentrations of multiple pollutants were present over a widespread area during the days after the accident, and resulted in enhanced deposition of these pollutants to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, including the Lakes Michigan, Erie, Ontario, and likely Huron and Superior,” researchers wrote.

Joe Biden speaks on the phone with EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine about the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at the Warsaw Marriott Hotel. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

Joe Biden speaks on the phone with EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine about the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at the Warsaw Marriott Hotel.

Omitted from the analysis was dioxin, which is a volatile organic compound that comes from vinyl chloride when burned. It is considered by the International Agency for Research on Cancer a group 1 carcinogen, while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers the chemical a persistent organic pollutant and extremely dangerous to the health of those who come into contact with it, especially over the long term.

According to the report, fire officials feared a potential explosion of one of the derailed cars which contained vinyl chloride, so the liquid was drained into a trench and set on fire in what was described as a “controlled release and burn.” Residents reported contaminated water and strong odors during and after the fire.

This type of toxic chemical can be carried on the wind and by water, and can store itself in body fat – allowing the chemical to move from species to species while becoming more concentrated. Health risks include liver cancer, lymphoma, leukemia and cancers of the lungs and brain.

According to a report from Toxic Free Future published in late January, approximately 3 million Americans live within one-mile of where vinyl chloride is transported, and around 36 million pounds are being transported in the U.S. along railway lines at any given time.

The National Transportation Safety Board is set to meet this week to approve a final report on its investigation into the East Palestine derailment.

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Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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