Off the Rails

Emily Brown, Yearbook Editor in Chief

   In the village of East Palestine,Ohio with a population of less than 5,000, the night of Feb. 3 was interrupted with tragedy. A train carrying toxic chemicals derailed, going up in flames. Over 40 train cars were damaged, five filled with the toxin, leaving debris scattered all over. 

   The chemical carried was vinyl chloride, flammable gas, and the residents within a mile radius of the crash were required to evacuate the area. According to the CDC, vinyl chloride after burning and inhaling can cause dizziness, drowsiness, loss of coordination, nausea, headache or burning and tingling sensations. Vinyl Chloride then seeps into the ground due to it being found in more concentration near the ground.

   Reported oil streams are seen when throwing rocks into the nearby water. The vinyl chloride is weighed down to the bottom of the stream and brought up to the surface when a rock is thrown in. Despite the E.P.A. giving the green-light to confirm the water is clean, residents and internet users all over seem skeptical. They tested the water and air on Feb. 12 and Feb. 21, to which both results came back with no concern. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced the spill had affected about seven miles of stream, which connects to the Ohio River, leaving about 3,000 fish dead. 

   Recently, concerns of the chemicals effects on the surrounding areas have come to light. Residents in the surrounding areas of Ohio and Pennsylvania have been posting on social media, reporting contaminated water. Reports of bubbling water coming from their faucets, nearby streams and ponds with oil and other concerns for their water.