Government Absent in Wake of Train Environmental Disaster

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has slammed the state’s Public Utilities Commission after it claimed the toxic train that derailed in Ohio was not considered hazardous, despite the accident devastating the local area. 

Residents of East Palestine, Ohio, fled the area after around 50 cars, including ten carrying hazardous materials, derailed in a fiery crash at 9pm on Friday, February 3. Despite the evacuation order being lifted last week, locals have since questioned authorities’ assurances that the area is safe as returning residents find dead fish and animals along with a foul smell likened to nail polish remover and burning tires.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the main chemicals involved in the derailment incident were vinyl chloride, ethylhexyl acrylate, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, and butyl acrylate (pdf).

Vinyl chloride is a toxic, colorless, and flammable gas primarily used to make the polyvinyl chloride hard plastic resin in plastic products such as pipes, wire and cable coatings, and packaging materials.

Vinyl chloride is associated with an increased risk of liver cancer and other cancers, such as brain and lung cancers, according to the federal government’s National Cancer Institute.