Residents in East Palestine, Ohio are reporting rashes and headaches following the massive toxic chemical explosion in their town earlier this month.
State, government, and railroad officials approved a plan to blow up six rail cars of toxic vinyl chloride that formed a mushroom cloud in the sky before it rained down on the city and surrounding area.
Residents are reporting dead chickens and pets. Dead fish and salamanders are washing up in the local stream and river. And now there are reports of rashes and headaches.
Deputy Director @ErinNicHaynes and others at @universityofky working to assist residents in #EastPalestine address their #environmentalhealth concerns. @NIEHS #NIEHS_EHSCC https://t.co/nUM7IDBc9P
— UK-CARES (@ukcares1) February 20, 2023
Some residents of East Palestine, Ohio, say they have developed rashes, sore throats, nausea and headaches after returning to their homes this week, and they’re worried these new symptoms are related to chemicals released after a train derailment two weeks ago.
The February 3 incident caused a massive fire and prompted officials to evacuate hundreds of people who lived near the site because of fears that a hazardous, highly flammable material might ignite. To prevent a potentially deadly explosion, toxic vinyl chloride gas was vented and burned, releasing a plume of black smoke over the town for days.
Other chemicals of concern at the site include phosgene and hydrogen chloride, which are released when vinyl chloride breaks down; butyl acrylate; ethylene glycol monobutyl ether acetate; and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. All these chemicals can change when they break down or react with other things in the environment, creating a stew of potential toxins.
Residents were given the all-clear to return to their homes February 8 after air monitoring in East Palestine did not detect any elevated chemicals of concern.
Officials say further testing of indoor air in about 500 homes has also not shown any hazards.