Train Derailment Releases Toxic Chemicals

Victoria Eastment '24, Staff Reporter

On February 3rd around 8:55 PM, a train transporting toxic chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. Of the fifty cars that were affected by the derailments, 38 of them were carrying hazardous materials. EPA personnel responded to the site as early as 2:00 AM that morning and began air, soil, and water testing. By Monday, February 20th, 15,000 pounds of contaminated soil and
1.1 million gallons of contaminated water were removed from the site. These contaminants included vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylene glycol mono butyl ether, and other chemicals widely acknowledged as causing damage to the environment. Due to the chemical contamination, locals noticed a rainbow sheen pres- ent in the water similar to that often seen in oil spills.

While the overall environmental impact of the derailment is unknown, many locals remain concerned about the condition of drinking water and air quality. The toxicity of the Ohio River also remains under question as contaminants may have entered this major waterway. Kathryn Anthony ‘24 comments “it’s very sad and shows the lack of care and response by many in charge when something goes wrong.” In a similar fashion, a fellow student states, “I think the awareness of this issue is very important and more people should know about its long-lasting effects on the environment.” While the extent of the environmental effects of this disaster are debated, one critical fact remains certain: this event will have a long-lasting impact on the neighboring environmental communities.