Only in Ohio

A large railcar derailed in Ohio earlier this month that is leaving huge health impacts to surrounding areas. This is what happened, and how the giant train company responsible for this is being held accountable.

Aarav Patel, Journalist

A train which was operated by Norfolk Southern Corportation carrying a total of 59 tanker cars derailed on Feb. 3, which were loaded with hazardous chemicals. The spill of these toxic chemicals has led to widespread environmental contamination and has had serious health impacts on the residents, as well as their pets and animals. The incident has raised concerns about the safety procedures and regulations surrounding the transportation of hazardous materials and has sparked debates about the need for better regulations in this area. 
The chemicals spilled from the derailed train included ethanol, toluene and acrylonitrile, all of which are toxic and pose serious health hazards to humans and animals if ingested or inhaled. According to the East Palestine Fire Chief, Gary Durante, “Ethanol is highly flammable, while toluene and acrylonitrile can cause respiratory problems, headaches, and dizziness.”  
The situation was further compounded by the fact that many of the residents were forced to evacuate their homes and leave their pets behind. The evacuation was prompted by concerns that the toxic chemicals in the air could pose a serious health risk to residents. 

These chemicals are dangerous not only because of the immediate health impacts they can have, but also because of the long-term effects they can have on the environment and human health. 

These chemicals are dangerous not only because of the immediate health impacts they can have, but also because of the long-term effects they can have on the environment and human health. 

The environmental impact of the derailment was significant, with toxic chemicals contaminating the air, soil and water in the surrounding area. This has had a negative impact on the health of the pets and animals in the region, with many falling ill or dying as a result. 

The situation quickly escalated as the chemicals began to spread as the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) declared that the chemicals needed to be burned in order to prevent them from combusting. According to a statement from the East Palestine Fire Department, “The controlled burn operation was necessary to prevent the chemicals from combusting and causing a larger fire. We took all necessary precautions to ensure that the operation was safe and that the impacts on the environment were minimized.” 

This decision was not made lightly, as the burning of these chemicals could release even more harmful substances into the air and the environment. However, it was deemed necessary in order to prevent a larger disaster from occurring. 

To contain the spread of the chemicals, the Ohio EPA set up an evacuation zone with a radius of one mile from the derailment site. Residents within this zone were instructed to evacuate immediately, leaving behind their homes and pets.  

The impact of the evacuation and

A recreated rendition of the aftermath of the train derailment through OpenAI Dall-E to show what the burning of toxic chemicals in East Palestine may have looked like. Please note that this image is not real but a recreation of the incident. Copyright and other issues of government regulation of journalism in the area prevent better imaging.

the chemical burn was devastating for many pets in the area. According to local reports, pets were seen roaming the streets, lost and confused without their owners. Many pets were also exposed to the toxic chemicals, leading to serious health problems and even death. 

A local veterinarian reported that “many of the animals in the area have suffered from respiratory problems, skin irritations, and even death.”

The situation was even more dire for animals that were not able to evacuate, such as livestock and wildlife. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, there have been reports of death and illness among wildlife near the derailment site. The department has also stated that it is monitoring the situation and taking steps to protect the health and safety of all animals in the area.
Norfolk Southern has come under criticism for their handling of the situation. According to a statement from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the company could be held liable for the spill and its impact on the environment and public health. “Norfolk Southern may be held responsible for the costs associated with the clean-up and remediation of the site, as well as any health impacts that may have occurred as a result of the spill.” 

Norfolk Southern ‘has been accused of not providing enough information to the public about the potential dangers of the chemicals involved and not taking proper precautions to prevent the derailment from occurring in the first place. Multiple investigations are going underway and Norfolk Southern has offered $1000 checks to residents in hopes of preventing further legal confrontation. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for Norfolk Southern said, “We are working closely with local authorities and agencies to assess the situation and take all necessary steps to mitigate any harm.”