Authorities decided to burn off the items to prevent an explosion in early February, days after a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous chemicals like vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, and isobutylene derailed near the Ohio town of East Palestine. Residents nearby were evacuated as a result, and images of thick, black smoke rising over houses and farms were broadcast across the world.
When the 4,700 inhabitants of the town returned, many of them complained of respiratory problems, skin irritation, and headaches. Within five miles of the disaster, more than 43,000 aquatic species had died and been discovered in waterways. Even though authorities claim that the air, water, and soil are all safe, locals worry about potential long-term consequences.
The possibility that dioxins from the burning vinyl chloride may have lingered nearby homes and fields is one cause for concern. The substances, which might take years to completely degrade, can harm the immune and reproductive systems, interact with hormones, and cause cancer. On Thursday, the EPA gave Norfolk Southern the go-ahead to test the area for dioxins.
Three miles from the derailment, Michelle Graef’s source of income disappeared overnight. She worries that as a result, none of the five Airbnb properties she has on her property—where visitors can ride horses and eat her fresh eggs and blueberries—will be booked. She fears that she won’t be able to pay for the cabin she recently bought for more than $80,000 to increase her short-term rental income.
With her girls, ages 9 and 10, Audrey DeSanzo lives job to paycheck less than one mile from the derailment. She claims that while wanting to move out as soon as possible, she doesn’t have enough money due to her $14 per hour employment.
She was debating whether to bring her 10-year-old daughter, Nevaeh, back to school one recent school night after keeping her home all day. When they arrived in East Palestine, Nevaeh has been experiencing headaches, nausea, and congestion. At home or school, was the air cleaner?
Such tales, some of whose conclusions may not be discovered for years, abound in the little community.
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The most recent information that the EPA has mandated dioxin testing was updated in this article.