Ohio Chemical Leak


Zakary Robinette

On February 3rd, a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. About 50 out of 150 of the cars derailed. Many of the chemicals released were able to be dealt with more easily than others; however, officials are concerned about the more dangerous chemicals. Controlled burns have been conducted to eliminate the chemicals. The National Transportation Safety Board put out a statement saying that the cause of the derailment was still unknown.

One of these chemicals is Vinyl Chloride, which is a colorless and odorless gas, which is also explosive. Five of the cars derailed holding this chemical were breached by personnel on site to ensure the containers didn’t explode, releasing shrapnel around the area. The short term effects of this gas are not too severe, some effects being irritation of the body and lungs, along with dizziness and nausea. The long term effects are much more severe, some being liver and skin cancer. “It is horrific to think about how much was released and how much was purposefully burned” Gerald Poje stated, a former member of the Chemical Safety Board.

One of the main issues with the elimination of the chemicals is that certain chemicals have to be taken out using various solutions, some of which are expensive and could take a long time to make. Another problem with this is the combination of toxic chemicals, making it harder to find out what needs to be done to take the reaction out. Several vacuum trucks and absorbent pads have been used to assist the cleansing process.

The effects have not taken too much effect on the people of East Palestine because they have been evacuated from the area. Unlike the people, the surrounding ecosystem has been affected, several thousand small fish have been found dead, and several unevacuated people have reported sick or dead animals. Although the chemicals have affected the surrounding area, the Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency told residents that the air and drinking water is safe.